LJUBLJANA, 27 October 2009 – Directors of the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Bakhtyar Aljaf and Zijad Bećirović, were visited by the president of the Kuwaiti industrial association Hussain Al-Kharafi. The Al-Kharafi family is the 54th richest family in the world according to Forbes magazine.

During the visit they exchanged views on the current economic crisis and talked about the possibilities for co-operation of Kuwaiti companies with Slovenia, the prospects for the West Balkan region and joint entry to the Middle East and Balkan markets. They stressed the importance of accelerating co-operation in the financial, investment, telecommunication, construction and energy sectors. In the period of economic downturn it is crucial to find appropriate ways to increase consumption in order to provide an additional impetus for economic growth, and this is the task of governments and the economists. They pointed to the role of Slovenia and its economy in the West Balkan region as well as the role of Kuwaiti economy in the Middle East and noted that despite being small, both countries have a significant influence in their respective regions.

Mr. Al-Kharafi, who had already visited the IFIMES International Institute in December 2006, expressed satisfaction with the Institute’s work and stressed the important role it plays in the democratisation processes and creation of a positive atmosphere for foreign investments in the region.

Ljubljana, 27 October 2009