A night view of the arch pylon on the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway which will lead to the Future Silk City, in Kuwait Bay, Kuwait April 23, 2019. (REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee)
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A "Silk City" rising from Kuwait's northern sandy plains will help diversify the Gulf Arab state's economy away from oil, draw foreign investment and galvanize trade links with Iraq, Iran and China – or at least that's the plan.Nasser's plan for an economic free zone and deep sea port, to be built in phases over 25 years, is meant to prevent Kuwait from falling further behind its neighbors which have opened up to foreign investment and are vying to be regional business hubs.The project encompasses five islands and a northern territory linked to the capital by the $2.3 billion Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad causeway that was set to open on Wednesday.The project aims to create at least 200,000 jobs, according to comments by Nasser reported in local media last year, vital in a country where more than half the Kuwaiti population is under 25 and an overstaffed public sector cannot keep absorbing new entrants to the labor market.Plans for an economic zone in Kuwait's sparsely-populated north have been knocking around since the 1970s.
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