Companies from the UAE are set to win huge contracts to develop housing, infrastructure and tourism projects in Iraq. This is good news for both the people of Iraq and the UAE companies. For Iraqis, it holds the promise of economic development and jobs, while for the companies it offers the opportunity of being among the first into a potentially lucrative market, beyond the well-known opportunities in the local oil industry.
The Iraqi National Investment Commission has said some of the projects — worth nearly $70 billion (Dh257.4 billion) — are expected to be finalised in the near future. The news comes after Emirates announced it will begin flights to Baghdad in July. Etihad Airways has been flying to the Iraqi capital since April.
The increased flights to Iraq are a sure sign that stability in the country is improving and that, for many business leaders, the benefits of the commercial opportunities in the country are gradually outweighing the political and security risks.
The rebuilding of the Iraqi economy will only happen at a fast pace once private companies invest in the country to provide necessary goods and services and create jobs. Foreign investment and the free market is one of the most effective ways of generating and distributing wealth.
But, while companies have shown a willingness to forge ahead and get to work rebuilding Iraq, its politicians continue to drag their feet and squabble over power. In the wake of the disputed election results, the country is still without an effective government. And talks to set up some kind of representative coalition government continue to drag on without an end in sight.
Iraqi politicians must get on with the job of setting up a legitimate government that can increase security, end corruption and enforce the rule of law, so companies can get on with building the economy.