Kuwait ranks among world’s most generous nations in social spending

Kuwait ranks among world’s most generous nations in social spending

KUWAIT CITY, May 28: Data compiled by the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), reveals that Kuwait is among the world’s most generous nations in terms of social spending.

For the fiscal year 2023/2024, Kuwait allocated KD 13.88 billion to social welfare programs, representing 52.83% of its total budget of KD 26.27 billion. This commitment to social welfare is also evident in the allocation of 28.3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to social spending, matching the levels seen in countries such as Denmark, and surpassing Germany (25.9%), Sweden (25.5%), and Norway (25.3%).

The Supreme Council for Planning and Development and ESCWA used seven key dimensions and indicators to monitor social spending: education, health and nutrition, housing and community facilities, labor market interventions and job creation programs, social protection programs, arts, culture and sports, and environmental protection.

The breakdown of social spending for the fiscal year 2023/2024 includes KD 3.299 billion allocated to housing and community facilities, KD 2.724 billion for hospital services, and KD 2.293 billion for fuel (oil and gas) subsidies. The government also invested over a billion in pre-primary and primary education.

Further analysis shows KD 959 million was spent on secondary education, and KD 736 million on higher education, totaling KD 1.695 billion. Labor market and employment programs received KD 570 million, while cultural facilities and events were allocated KD 520 million. Additionally, KD 514 million went to education affairs, and social protection programs received KD 338 million.

Infrastructure and healthcare spending included KD 222 million on sewage and sanitation, KD 170 million on the water supply network, KD 130 million on healthcare expenses, KD 124 million on medical products, and KD 610,000 on public health services.

Other allocations included KD 960,000 for adult education, KD 890,000 for housing support, KD 130,000 for family and child allowances, KD 100,000 for community development, and KD 70,000 for support for vulnerable groups.

Regarding distribution by beneficiaries, 28.39% (KD 3.943 billion) of total social spending was directed towards institutional development and administrative support. Diverse population groups received 20.96% (KD 2.911 billion), households or families 19.68% (KD 2.733 billion), children 14.14% (KD 1.964 billion), and youth and adults 10.11% (KD 1.404 billion). The remaining 6.67% (KD 0.926 billion) was allocated to society as a whole.

Comparatively, during the fiscal year 2016/2017, social spending was KD 8.317 billion, accounting for 46.96% of Kuwait’s total expenditure of KD 17.708 billion. This indicates a growth of approximately 69% in social spending by 2023/2024, reflecting Kuwait’s enhanced commitment to social welfare.

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