The Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Barham Salih, told more than 500 delegates at a major conference in London that Kurdistan welcomes foreign business, and invited international companies to participate in Kurdistan’s economic progress.
Speaking at the Kurdistan Region Trade and Investment conference on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said, “Kurdistan welcomes foreign businesses with open arms. Foreign investment has played an important role in the rapid, dynamic growth we have achieved over the last few years, and our international business partners have seen first hand the huge rewards investment in the Region can offer.”
Dr Salih added, “Building on this momentum, we have come to the heart of the City of London to extend an open invitation to the international business community: join us in a long term partnership to rebuild Kurdistan and the region, to establish Kurdistan as an economic powerhouse in the Middle East and to enjoy our joint success and prosperity for many years to come”
The Prime Minister was joined at the conference by the UK’s Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt and by Baroness Wilcox, a Minister in the Department of Innovation and Skills.
Minister Burt said, “The Kurdistan Region Trade and Investment Conference is a great opportunity for British businesses to build strong commercial links between the UK and the Kurdistan Region, which the Foreign Secretary and I are very pleased to support.” He added, “Trade is but one of the many ways for the UK and the Kurdistan Region to build closer links. We share many common interests, and already have a bilateral relationship based on co-operation and respect including on economic, commercial, development, defence, culture and education.”
Baroness Wilcox said, “The Iraqi Kurdistan region is a gateway for British companies looking to establish a foothold in Iraq….In 2009 there was a five percent increase in UK goods exports to Iraq and in 2008 Iraq’s real GDP growth was 7.8 per cent. The country [Iraq] has the third largest oil reserves in the world and proven natural gas reserves. The Iraqi Kurdistan region offers huge potential across a range of sectors for British companies that want to secure a share of this emerging market.”
As well as Prime Minister Salih, many KRG ministers and officials and international private sector representatives spoke at the flagship conference. They included the KRG Chairman of the Investment Board, the Head of Foreign Relations, and the ministers for the Interior, Trade and Industry, Natural Resources, Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Agriculture and Water Resources. The Government of Iraq’s Minister for Industry and Minerals Fawzi Hariri, and the Chairman of the Iraqi Investment Commission Dr Sami Al Araji also gave keynote speeches.
The conference was organised by the KRG UK Representation, and concluded on Wednesday 16th June.