|Form of government
||Emirates (Principality) with parliamentary
form of government
||UTC + 3
|Telephone area code
The state of Kuwait ("Daulat Al-Kuwait") reads in the
northwest of the Persian Gulf and borders in the south
on Saudi Arabia, in the northwest and north on Iraq.
With an area of 17,818 km², the country is about twice
as large as the island of Crete.
Kuwait consists mainly of dry steppe and desert and
is almost flat except for the range of hills of the Zawr
Mountains (up to 150 m), which runs parallel to the
coast. The wide sandstone plateau, which takes up the
majority of the country's area, rises from east to west,
the largest elevation is the Ash Shakayah with 283 m.
The western border with Iraq runs along a dry valley (Wadi
al Batin) that only occasionally carries water.
The Kuwait Bay in the middle of the coastline on the
Persian Gulf extends up to 40 km inland, on the southern
tip is the capital, which bears the same name as the
country (Al-Kuwayt). To the north of the bay there is a
strip of alluvial land belonging to the Schatt el Arab,
to the south of the bay are the large oil fields to
which the state owes its prosperity.
Kuwait's climate is characterized by great drought
(in the interior) and sometimes extremely high
temperatures in summer. Precipitation, which averages
120 mm annually, mainly falls in the months of December
to February. In the winter months, temperatures can
reach up to approx. 25 กใ C during the day, temperatures
drop sharply at night, and frost in the desert is not
uncommon. In summer, the average temperatures are around
35 กใ C, the maximum temperature is around 50 กใ C.
Flora and fauna
Much of the country consists of desert and dry
steppe, the vegetation and wildlife are correspondingly
barren and poor. After rain in the winter months, some
plants grow temporarily. The oases in the country are
used intensively for agriculture, especially date palms
and vegetables are cultivated here.
Around 2.5 million people live in Kuwait, around 96%
of whom live in cities (the country has one of the
highest urbanization rates worldwide). The largest
metropolitan area is the metropolitan area around the
capital Kuwait(Al-Kuwayt) with As-Salimiyah and Hawalli,
around 390,000 people live here. According to COUNTRYAAH, 90% of the
country's residents are Arabs, the rest mostly Asian.
Only residents who were born in Kuwait before 1920 or
whose descendants are considered real Kuwaitis, today
this applies to approximately 45% of people. Around a
third of them are nomadic Bedouins (without citizenship
rights). More than 55% of the workers in Kuwait are
foreigners, especially from Arab countries (Saudi
Arabia, Syria, Iraq) or from the Indian subcontinent
(India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka). The British
and Americans make up a small minority. Islam is the
state religion in Kuwait. There are 85% Muslims, of whom
over two thirds are Sunnis. Christians and Hindus form
The standard of living in Kuwait is very high in a
global comparison. An extensive social security system
and an excellent and free health system reflect the
prosperity of society. School attendance (compulsory
schooling from six to 14 years) is also free of charge;
the illiteracy rate is still relatively high at 16%. The
average life expectancy is 77 years, the population
grows by 2.5% on average.
Kuwait is - according to the 1962 constitution - a
constitutional hereditary monarchy (emirate). The emir
(Sabah bin Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah, since January 2006)
is both secular and spiritual head of the country. At
the same time, he is the chairman of the Council of
Ministers and appoints the head of government (Jabir
Mubarak al-Hamad as-Sabah, since December 2011). The
executive power lies with the Emir or the ministers
appointed by him and the head of government. All
important ministries are occupied by members of the
The legislative power lies with the National Assembly
(Madschlis al-Umma) with 65 members. 50 of them are
elected, 15 are appointed. The term of office is four
years. The Emir has both the right to propose and the
right to veto. Kuwaitis over the age of 21 are eligible
to vote (except members of the armed forces and security
forces), and only since 2005 have female citizens also
had the right to vote and to stand for election. Instead
of the (banned) political parties, there are party-like
groups in Kuwait that can be roughly divided into
Islamists (of various forms), liberals and
representatives of tribes and conservatives.
The legal system is based on Islam and British
Kuwait is divided into six governorates. There is a
uniform municipal council for the entire country. There
is also a neutral zone with Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait is one of the wealthiest countries in the
world. The Kuwaiti economy is based on the sale of crude
oil or oil products (Kuwait has around a tenth of the
world's oil reserves). Petroleum export revenues
represent 94% of total export earnings. Only 2.1% of the
population are considered unemployed.
Due to the drought, less than 1% of the country's
area can be used for agriculture. Dates, melons and
animal feed are grown in the oases and areas on the
coast. Sheep, goats and cattle are kept to a limited
extent, sometimes by nomadic Bedouins. The rest of the
food must be imported, as well as building materials,
vehicles and textiles. The most important suppliers are
the USA, China and Germany.
Petrochemicals and chemistry are dominant in
industrial companies; they also produce export products
that are sold to Japan, the United States, South Korea,
India and China.
Kuwait has an industrial port (Ash Shiwaikh) and four
oil ports (Mina al-Ahmadi, Mina Abd Allah, Ash Shuaybah,
Mina Suud). There is an international airport near the
The currency is the Kuwaiti dinar.