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Map of Kuwait

Map of Kuwait.
flag of the State of Kuwait.

State of Kuwait

Bilateral relationship

New Zealand has excellent relations with Kuwait, based in particular around the export of food products – especially dairy and meat – and the import of oil to meet New Zealand’s energy supply needs. There is significant scope to deepen the relationship in a number of areas, particularly education.

New Zealand firms involved in education services, telecommunications and boat building are finding a growing market in Kuwait. They are also involved in the construction sector - including a wide range of work: from oil pipelines and large scale industrial building projects through to high-end interior, commercial and residential design.

New Zealand’s contribution towards the liberation of Kuwait from occupying forces in February 1991 has never been forgotten by its government or people, and continues to hold us in good stead. 

Since 1 July 1999, GCC nationals, including from Kuwait, have not required visas to visit New Zealand for visits of up to 90 days. top of page

Key facts


Official Name - State of Kuwait
Land Area - 17,818 sq km
Population - 3.7 million (United Nations estimate 2011)
Capital City  - Kuwait City
Religion - Islam (80% Sunni)
Official Language  - Arabic
Currency -Kuwaiti dinar (KD) = 1,000 fils
Exchange Rate - KWD1 = NZ$4.55; KWD1 = US$3.58 (as at January 2012)


Political system - Constitutional Emirate
National government - Power is exercised by the Emir through a Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister who is chosen by the Emir.
National legislature - Unicameral National Assembly of 50 elected members plus appointed cabinet ministers. The Assembly has been dissolved six times by decree of the Emir: in 1976, 1986, 1999, 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Last election - May 2009
Next election due - early National Assembly elections have been called for Spring 2012 following the dissolution decree by the Emir in December 2011.
Head of State - Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al Sabah (acceded in February 2006)
Head of Government - Prime Minister, HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Main political parties - while political parties are not allowed, informal groupings exist. The main ones are: the Islamic Constitutional Movement, the Islamic Popular Grouping and the New Salafi bloc (Sunni Islamist groupings); the National Islamic Alliance (Shi’a Islamists). The National Democratic Grouping (liberal, pro-reform). Most MPs sit as independents.


GDP: US$163.4 billion
Real GDP growth:    4.4%
Exports:     US$97.7 billion
Imports: US$21.3 billion
Main exports: Crude oil
Current account balance: US$63.7 billion
Inflation:  4.5%
Total external debt: US$42.4 billion

New Zealand Trade[2]

NZ Exports (FOB) - NZ$104.96 million (for the year to June 2011)
Main Exports - Milk powder (43.3%), butter (22.1%), lamb (7.2%), cheese (4.8%)
NZ Imports (CIF) - NZ$484.95 million (for the year to June 2011)
Main Imports - Crude oil (97%); nitrogen fertiliser (3%), glass fibre (0.01%)

[1] All figures are taken from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Kuwait country report, January 2011.

[2] All figures are taken from the World Trade Atlas, December 2011.top of page



New Zealand ministerial visits to Kuwait

The Minister of Trade, Hon Tim Groser, visited Kuwait in April 2010 with a 90 person business delegation.
The Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Lt General Sir John Mace, visited Kuwait in 1991.

Kuwaiti visits to New Zealand

The late Emir of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, visited New Zealand in 1992 to express his thanks for New Zealand’s support in the liberation of Kuwait. top of page



The New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is accredited to Kuwait.

Kuwait is accredited to New Zealand from the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Canberra, Australia.

Travel advice

The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Kuwait [external link].

Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers: telephone: +64 4 439 8000; fax: +64 4 439 8532; email: enquiries@mfat.govt.nz

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 December 2013 13:00 NZDT