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In 1966, the Government of Kuwait in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
established according to the five-year agreement signed between the two parties, the Kuwait Institute for Economic and Social Planning in the Middle East as an independent Kuwaiti Institute. In 1972, at the end of the five-year term, the Institute was converted into an independent Arab Institution called the Arab Planning Institute (API) - Kuwait. The five-year agreement signed between the member governments of the Institute and the UNDP limited the role of the UN to providing a number of international experts in addition to a number of fellowships. In 1980, the contribution of the UNDP ended, and the Arab member countries declared the API an independent, regional and non-profit Arab Institution . Currently, the Institute includes most of the Arab countries as members. Its membership, according to the API's establishing agreements, is to remain open to other Arab countries wishing to become members. The API will, nonetheless, pursue its policy of rendering services to all Arab countries regardless of membership status.

 The Arab Planning Institute, established the Small and Medium Enterprises Center in 2014; to enhance the capabilities of Arab youth and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among them. The center is considered one of the first SMEs specialized centers in the Arab world and provides an array of services including training and consultancy services as well as technical support services and specialized publications directed at entrepreneurs and SMEs owners/managers as well as directed to government agencies working on improving SMEs work environments.

 In the domain of information technologies and the dissemination of the development ideals in the Arab world, API established a digital Information Center which aim at providing technological and information support to trainees, experts and to those interested in acquiring information about the state of economic and social development in the Arab world.


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