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Iraq is open for business

Iraqi leaders are eager to demonstrate the country’s business-oriented environment. In August 2017, the Iraqi Central Bank issued its first bond in over a decade in a bid to raise $1 billion for reconstruction. Six months later, the National Investment Commission (NIC) published a list of 157 critical reconstruction and development projects, for which it is seeking immediate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to cover a $100 billion projected cost.

Focused primarily on infrastructure restoration and economic diversification efforts, the list includes initiatives for re-opening Mosul’s international airport, constructing a new freight and passenger railway from Mosul to Basra, and opening multi-billion-dollar metro systems in Baghdad (2-line), Basra (5-line), and Karbala (monorail). Sixteen proposals will require at least $500 million, with the most ambitious among them estimated to carry an average $10.1 billion price-tag. Meanwhile, the NIC has planned for the creation of four specialized economic zones in Babylon (heavy industry), Diwaniya (agriculture and agro-phosphates), Ninewa (fine machining), and Baghdad (advanced cyber, information, and renewable energy technologies).

The country has revealed a decade-long reconstruction plan, with the total project costs amounting to $88.2bn. A conference was held in Kuwait to stimulate investments into Iraqi infrastructure to help strengthen its economy.

76 countries have contributed to the initiative, alongside international funds and organizations. As part of Iraq’s construction plan, schools, homes, hospitals, and economic networks are all to be rebuilt. More than $30bn is already set to be invested into restoration projects in Iraq.

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Ghassan Nawfal
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