The Lord Mayor of London Dr Andrew Parmley addresses the reporters during a press conference yesterday. — Photos by Joseph Shagra
The Lord Mayor of London Dr Andrew Parmley addresses the reporters during a press conference yesterday. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: Lord Mayor of London Dr Andrew Parmley is visiting Kuwait to discuss the benefits of a strong economic partnership between Kuwait and the City of London with top Kuwaiti officials. “The United Kingdom is keen on bolstering ties with Kuwait in all possible domains,” Parmley said. At a press conference yesterday at Hamra Tower, Parmley noted that he met HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, adding the meeting was attended by head of the mission of honor, Governor of Hawally Lt Gen Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and Director General of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority Sheikh Dr Mishal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to discuss economic and commercial relationships between Kuwait and the UK.

The Lord Mayor of London affirmed that the goal of the visit was to reassure Kuwait and the GCC countries that the UK would remain a strong business partner. “The UK is a natural partner of choice for any ambitious country than plans to grow its economy. I look forward to strengthening the strong economic ties that bind the UK and Kuwait. During my forthcoming meetings, I will reiterate one central message: The UK is open for business.” Parmley emphasized. He added that UK will always remain a great trading nation and Britain’s economy is one of the strongest among major advanced economies in the world, and “we are well placed to face the future”.

As the representative of London’s prestigious and ancient ‘City’, the Lord Mayor will be primarily focused on commercial and investment relationships. Kuwait has a long history with the City of London, particularly through the Kuwait Investment Office, based in the City, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Similarly British banking institutions such as HSBC have long operated in Kuwait. During his visit the Lord Mayor, will explore how to deepen these ties, and how the UK and UK businesses and institutions can support Kuwait’s stated aim to become a financial hub and the country’s ambitious development plan.

Parmley’s visit comes on the backdrop of Brexit, an event that sent shockwaves around the globe after the UK expressed clear intensions to fully separate from the EU. Parlmey revealed that more top UK officials will visit the region soon, pointing out that British Prime Minister Theresa May will take part in the GCC summit to be held in Bahrain later next month. Parmley is closely involved in culture and creative industries and promotes diversity, particularly the importance of attracting international skills to London, and global Fair Trade.

The Lord Mayor will also be presenting a Mansion House Scholarship to a Kuwaiti scholar. This is the first ever time this prestigious award has been given to a Kuwaiti. “We have now two Kuwaiti winners, Mishari Fayez Al-Jassim and Dari Al-Zayad,” Parmley said. The scholarship scheme exists to fund scholarships for the brightest and best students and young business executives from overseas to travel to the United Kingdom to study or to undertake training or work experience in London’s world-leading financial services sector.

The scheme is administered as a charitable trust, with an independent chairman and four appointed trustees. The selection of the scholar remains as the personal gift of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and those awarded scholarships are known as Mansion House Scholars. This year, Jassim will be appointed as a Mansion House Scholar from Kuwait. Jassim is 29 and works for Ahli United Bank in Kuwait City, where he has been employed since 2007. He is now a Senior Dealer on one of their Treasury Trading Desks. Mishari is the first Mansion House Scholar ever to have been selected from Kuwait and one of thirteen scholars to have been appointed by the Lord Mayor this year.

By Faten Omar