By Sarchin Salih.
Kurdish Crises Drive Kurdish Investors to put their Money Elsewhere
It’s not only Iraqi and international investors getting their money out of Iraqi Kurdistan. Financial and political problems are also leading locals to invest further south.
Ahmad Ali is an Iraqi Kurdish businessman who’s been living in the Erbil province, in Iraqi Kurdistan, for years. In the past Ali often looked at the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan as the best place to invest his money. Not anymore.
Currently Ali is looking into building a mall and supermarket in the Kirkuk province, outside of Iraqi Kurdistan’s official borders, at the cost of US$50 million. He is also working on a residential project in the southern province of Dhi Qar.
“As an investor, I look for the best opportunities. I don’t care about geography,” Ali told NIQASH. “At the moment southern and central Iraq are the best places to put my money.”
The market in Iraqi Kurdistan is dead right now, Ali says, thanks to the financial and political crisis here.
“The last few years we have dealt with a financial crisis, a slowdown and a significant decline in investment,” Yassin Mahmoud Rashid, the spokesperson for the Kurdistan Investors’ Union, told NIQASH. “About 20 percent of investors have now left this market thanks to a decline in demand and the losses being incurred by some projects.”
In the past the Iraqi Kurdish government had guaranteed investment projects a steady supply of electricity and tax cuts for certain time periods, Rashid pointed out.