Kuwait seeks to invest $750 million in Pakistan projects

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Kuwait-backed units are planning several projects in Pakistan valued at $750 million, marking one of the largest proposed investments in the South Asian country in recent years.

Kuwait Investment Authority’s Enertech Holding Co. and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company have applied for a digital bank license and proposed a hydrogen plant and two smart cities, said Mohammad al-Fares, chairman at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co. The two are already working on a $200 million water pipeline.

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The proposed investments are a boon for Pakistan, which has seen muted foreign investment for more than a decade because of energy outages, terrorism and political instability.

Recent turmoil has led to a regime change while the nation’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped to less than two months of imports.

Newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is currently visiting Saudi Arabia, which has provided loan support in the past. Pakistan is also negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to release $3 billion this year.

Although loans have been the main stop-gap for financial support, the nation has long sought to increase foreign investment to reduce its reliance on borrowing.

Enertech and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company have formed an alliance to explore opportunities in Pakistan, said al-Fares.

The latter was established in 1979 by the governments of Pakistan and Kuwait, and holds multiple investments including a 30 percent stake in Meezan Bank Ltd., Pakistan’s fastest growing bank by deposits.

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