Iraqi Kurdistan Shifts Investment Approach

Since the 1991 Kurdish uprising against the former Iraqi regime until its collapse in 2003, the region has despaired under the foreign blockade on Iraq and the Iraqi blockade on the Kurdistan region. This caused the region to fall behind in a number of fields, especially in housing development as evidenced by the enormous housing crisis. The crisis was felt even more after the economy approved during the post-Saddam era.

Norouz Mawloud, director of legal affairs at the investment authority, says that the housing sector has reached advanced stages. As a result, the focus is now shifting to three other vital sectors: agriculture, tourism and industry.

Over the past few years, several housing complexes have been built to provide people with limited income and governmental employees the opportunity to buy a house and pay for it in monthly installments. Young people have especially benefited, since they could pay just half of the house’s price in the beginning, and pay back the remainder through installments over ten years.

Figures from the commerce ministry in the region indicate that the number of registered foreign companies currently exceeds 2,000.

Kawa Wali Muhammad Ali, an economic analyst and academic in the faculty of business and economy at Saladin University in Erbil, says that the 2006 investment law encouraged investors by protecting their interests. “After the parliament approved the law and the regional government ratified it, many foreign companies entered the region,” he told Al-Monitor. “Today, hundreds of projects are being implemented by foreign companies or investors,” he added.

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