While Turkey is undoubtedly the country with the most companies operating in Iraq — 270 of them, according to this recent report — it is France that clearly takes the prize for the most active of Iraq’s non-bordering countries.
Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) says there are 123 French companies with operations in the country, and it’s clear from recent news-flow that France is not stopping there.
At an official level, France is obviously doing the right things to cement (pun intended) its relations with Iraq:
- Announcing the opening of a consulate in Anbar;
- Opening an ‘Agriculture and Environment‘ house in Erbil;
- Campaigning to remove Iraq from UN Chapter VII;
- Setting up a research centre at Erbil’s Citadel;
- Opening a consulate in Basra;
- Building a business centre to facilitate French enterprises in Baghdad.
The sluggishness of some other countries, including the US, to take advantage of the opportunities in Iraq has not gone un-noticed.
In the nature of things, these opportunities don’t hang around forever.