France and Kuwait

Presentation

Political relations

Kuwait remembers France’s contribution to its liberation in 1991 and its firmness on Iraq’s implementing Kuwait-related UN resolutions (acknowledgment of the border, payment of compensation, return of archives and remains of Kuwaiti soldiers) is appreciated.

Bilateral visits

Visits to France

  • May 2015: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah.
  • June 2015: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah.
  • October 2015: Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah.
  • October 2015: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah.
  • January 2018: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah.

Visits to Kuwait:

  • January 2015: Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius.
  • March 2015: Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Ms Annick Girardin.
  • June 2015: Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • August 2016: Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • July 2017: Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • February 2018: Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Economic relations

Bilateral trade rose in 2018, producing a surplus for France of €154.9 million in the first half of the year (as against €111.3 million in 2017). This performance is largely explained by a strong rise in sales of aircraft and spacecraft (€109.6 million, representing 33.5% of total exports, as against only €1.5 million in the first half of 2017. Upcoming deliveries of 25 Airbus aircraft from 2019 to 2021 should support trade in the coming years. Outside the aerospace sector, the major export fields are textiles, chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics, industrial and agricultural machines and agrifood products.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France enjoys a positive image in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti Government has introduced French language teaching in state secondary schools. The National Guard has done the same in its officer training programmes. The Lycée Français of Kuwait, under contract with the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), has more than 400 enrolled students and 15% of them are Kuwaiti. This is one of the highest percentages in French schools in the Gulf. Agreements with the French National School of Public Administration (ENA), which has participated in the training of Kuwaiti civil servants (Ministry of Planning) since 2012, and with the Paris Institute of Political Studies – Sciences Po (partnership with Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science – KFAS), help intensify technical and academic cooperation.

For the last ten years or so, positions equivalent to those of interns are given to Gulf doctors who come to complete specialized medical training in French medical schools and hospitals, at the end of which they are awarded a specialized degree. The Gustave Roussy Institute has worked since 2013 to establish a regional oncology centre in Kuwait (120 beds).

Archaeological research is intense. The French Centre for Archaeology and Social Sciences, the Institut Français de Recherche à l’Étranger throughout the countries of the Arabian Peninsula (United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman), was established in Kuwait in 2016.

Other cooperation

In the area of defence, our countries are bound by an agreement dating back to 1992, the first signed by France in the Gulf region, which was renewed in 2009. Our military presence in the Gulf and our participation in efforts to combat Daesh (a French detachment is hosted by Army Forces Central Command-Kuwait) have enhanced France’s image as a major player in the region.

Updated: 12 October 2018