Iraqi Kurdistan, or the Kurdistan Region, is the autonomous region in the north of Iraq. Its economy is mainly powered by oil, and to a lesser extent other industries. Its capital city is Erbil, its government is known as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – and it is set to power Iraq’s tech ecosystem growth.
Why Kurdistan will power Iraqi tech growth:
1. It Is Secure, Developed And Has A Strong Business Culture
The Kurdistan Region has enjoyed relative stability during recent periods of conflict in Iraq and isn’t really at risk of disruption from ISIL. It is this security coupled with developmental funding in the region since before 2003 that has allowed it to advance much quicker than the rest of Iraq.
Helped enormously by continued infrastructural investment and a liberal investment policy, which has attracted a lot of foreign money into the region, Kurdistan has become a real enterprise hub. In recent years Erbil’s skyline has been dotted increasingly with new hotels, luxury apartment buildings and office complexes, with demand making the city increasingly a cosmopolitan centre in the Middle East.
2. Its Oil And Gas Sector Provides A Reliable Revenue Stream
While the growing tech ecosystem will diversify Iraq’s economy away from a reliance on natural resources, oil and gas revenue trickles down into other areas of the country. Iraqi Kurdistan, with its massive oil and gas reserves, relies heavily on this sector. Due to its natural resource riches, Iraqi Kurdistan benefits from a trickle-down economy – oil and gas revenue goes towards investment of all kinds in the region.
3. The KRG Has Invested Heavily In Infrastructure
Erbil, the region’s capital city, counts on high speed internet, a wide range of commercial office space, and significant investment in city development. Erbil and Sulaimaniyah are home to two new international airports, with a third under construction in Duhok. Infrastructure development across the region continues, and although some Kurds would argue that money could be better spent, the KRG continues to invest heavily in improving the region’s infrastructure.