“An estimated 450,000 new job seekers are entering the Iraqi labour market every year, so creating adequate job opportunities in the private sector has become vital for Iraq’s recovery and economic growth. We are focusing on finding ways to maximize the benefits of our projects for local companies and contribute to employment creation. We are pleased to be involved in this important partnership.” said Hans Nijkamp Shell Iraq Vice President and Country Chairman.
The private sector in Iraq only accounts for 7% of total full time employment. However, there is a high and growing demand for qualified local manpower, particularly in the oil and gas sector, which is currently not being met. The anticipated increase in oil production in Iraq will further increase the demand for qualified local manpower. Basra, where this partnership will be implemented, is a potentially wealthy economy with some of the largest oil reserves in the world and the country’s only port. Basra’s wealth, however, has not yet trickled down to its citizens, who remain some of the poorest people in Iraq. The quality of essential services, such as electricity, water and sanitation and solid waste management, is also very poor in Basra compared to the rest of the country. Initiatives like this are designed to address these problems and help to improve the situation for the citizens of Basra.
Batchelor also noted that: “This partnership is part of UNDP’s support for the local network of the Global Compact, which was launched in Iraq in October last year to promote responsible business practices in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption. The Global Compact, and these types of partnerships, also provide a useful framework for international oil companies who are operating in Iraq to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility obligations.”