By Layth Mahdi, Agricultural Advisor. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Poverty and Unemployment Not Being Addressed in the Coming Iraqi Elections
Iraq’s poverty and unemployment is increasing every year despite the Government’s efforts to implement programs to lower it. The United Nations and other International Organizations have published that more than 23% of Iraq’s population lives below the poverty line.
While 23% is the official figure, the real number exceeds 35% (12 million). The Iraqi people have endured a lot of hardship and suffering during the last four decades of war, in addition to crippling sanctions. The devastating living conditions have resulted in the brain drain of the intellectual workforce.
The remaining officials in charge of the redevelopment programs lack vital experience, such as project management, needed to rebuild the country back to its glory. It is essential that foreign agencies enter Iraq in order to educate these officials towards good governance, which will address the main barrier to success: poverty and unemployment.
The Ministry of Planning (MoP) has implemented several programs aimed to decrease poverty in Iraq. In 2010, it started a five year program (2010-14) in hopes to bring the poverty level down to 10%. However; the MoP has admitted that its plans have failed to achieve their objectives. During my consultancy years with Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) we worked to assist provincial and local governments to govern effectively and deliver essential services, as part of the plan for a “New Way Forward” in Iraq.
This new plan introduced a unique Provincial Development Strategy (PDS) for each province from 2007-2011. Unfortunately, these strategies were never implemented by any Provincial Council or Governor due to a lack of trust and understanding of the PDS.