The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and its partners officially launched the first independent institute of directors in Iraq to promote principles of good corporate governance, boost transparency, and help attract more private investment.
The Kurdistani Institute of Directors (KIoD) will be providing corporate governance services in Iraq and the Middle East and North Africa Region, to help strengthen the role of independent directors and boards, and raise awareness of best corporate governance practices. The Erbil Chamber of Commerce and Trade is supporting these efforts.
The initiative is another step in IFC’s strategy to spur private sector growth in Iraq by improving smaller businesses’ management skills, business performance and competitiveness. It is also part of IFC’s aim to scale up support for fragile and conflict-affected states, where private sector investment is key to create jobs and spur growth.
“Strong corporate governance standards are vital for economic success. By building the capacity of national institutes, we are helping companies improve competitiveness and create jobs,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We hope this project will also open the door to more private sector investment in Iraq, and enhance the potential for long-term development.”
Companies operating in conflict-affected environments face unique corporate governance challenges. For the last several years, IFC has been working to help promote stronger corporate governance and transparency in Iraq. With IFC support, the newly established institute KIoD has already conducted its first corporate governance event, providing training for 20 entrepreneurs in Erbil.
So far, IFC has provided corporate governance services to five companies in Iraq and conducted nine specialized events, reaching about 447 participants and helping to build the capacity of 16 Iraqi trainers to deliver training through a network of specialized providers. IFC is implementing the corporate governance program in Iraq in partnership with the governments of Japan and Spain.