Iraq’s developing situation continues to astound me when I contrast it with much of the west.
Take the UK, where Prime Minister David Cameron has on 20 October announced £81bn ($127bn) of cuts from total government expenditure of £661bn ($1,040bn), the largest budget cuts in decades by a large margin. All this it needs to do to try and stop national debt rising at £5,900 ($9,300) a second.
Iraq, on the other hand, is going the other way. Not only does it expect to be in budget surplus by 2012, but it is pulling money in for investment at an ever-increasing rate.
Iraq had a five-year plan to attract $6bn-worth of investments. It then said it wants $200bn. And this week it has gone up to a new target of $600bn.
It would be happy if it gets to 50% of that target, but it has reasons to be optimistic.
In the first 20 days of this month alone we reported on private investments in Basra for 1,000 housing units, a shopping mall and a huge drinking water project. In and around Amara there will be another 1,150 housing units and an industrial park, and Erbil is building two big roads, Muthanna a large cement factory to help with yet other developments, and Baghdad is awarding another 11 investment permits for housing, commerce, tourism and industry. And I haven’t even mentioned the energy projects yet.
In the global economic seesaw, it seems like it is Iraq’s turn to rise up again.