Kang Ho-in, Minister of South Korea’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and the Kuwaiti Minister of State for Housing Affairs H.E. Yasser Hassan Abul signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Feb. 26, 2016 to cooperate on the development of the so-called South Saad Al Abdullah New City. Besides this, Korea Land and Housing Corp. (LH) inked another MOU with the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) of Kuwait to develop the new city.
The South Saad Al Abdullah New City spanning 59 kilometers is located 40 kilometers west of the center of Kuwait, and 25,000 households will be built. The city construction cost is estimated at $4 billion.
Under the deal, LH will draw up a comprehensive plan and conduct a feasibility analysis in creating the city, and LH and PAHW together will set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to jointly invest and build the city. The SPV company will be in charge of designing, construction and operation of the city.
The Kuwaiti government will also purchase unsold land and houses once the city is completed, and the two parties will ensure government-level cooperation in mapping out new city policies and exchanges of knowhow and experience.
LH hopes its foray into Kuwait to build a world-class smart city paves the way for other Korean builders to enter the country.
The top Kuwaiti official on housing policy voiced hope for a strong partnership with South Korea, citing its expertise in urban development and smart city construction.
Yasser Hassan Abul Sadeq, minister of state for housing affairs, was wrapping up his five-day official visit here.
"Through this visit, (we) experienced South Korea's new technologies applied to its smart and eco-friendly cities," he said in an interview.
Kuwait plans to strengthen its partnership with South Korea in new city development projects, he added.
He also called for cooperation in various fields including the management of new cities and housing programs.
Oil-rich Kuwait is pushing for a number of large construction projects aimed at resolving a chronic housing supply shortage.
"It's true that many nations are competing (to participate in them)," said the minister. "But South Korea carried out a related process faster than other countries. Thus, I think South Korea has a better opportunity."
He stressed that the ongoing projects won't be affected by low oil prices.
A consortium led by Korea Land & Housing Corp. has already shown an interest in Kuwait.
The minister dismissed concern about financing, saying the "simple" matter will be handled smoothly if the two sides continue to promote a bilateral partnership in the construction sector.
He said he was quite impressed by South Korea's new cities in Pangyo, just south of Seoul, and Songdo, west of the capital.
The Maharashtra government on Oct. 3, 2016, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Korea Land & Housing Corporation.
This MOU is to build a strategic partnership for smart cities, roads and bridges, and exchange of knowledge and expertise, state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted.
"I am happy to learn that KLHC intends to work with GoM (Government of Maharashtra) for smart cities, Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor and some redevelopment projects," Fadnavis said.
At the Consul General of Republic of Korea in Mumbai, Kim Soung-eun, state Ministers Chandrakantdada Patil, Pravin Pote and Madan Yerawar were present for the occasion.