Kurdistan's sixth international trade fair in Erbil opened on Monday with 850 companies from 25 countries. Hundreds of companies are at the fair for the first time.
Albert Awun of EFB Arak, which organised the fair, told AKnews: "The percentage of the participating new companies in the exhibition compared to last year is about 50%, while the estimated amounts of the major projects that the Iraqi government is working on to invest in the infrastructure, housing, agriculture, transportation, health, education and communication projects is estimated to about 70 billion U.S. dollars.
"The fair includes national pavilions from Austria, Britain, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Kuwait, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, in addition to the participation of many other countries such as the United States, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Lebanon."
With Germany being represented by 30 companies, a spokesperson for the country's Economy Ministry gave his support to German businesses entering Iraq. He said: "Some companies recognize for the first time the market and investment opportunities in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. German companies are participating in various fields: consulting, engineering, construction, logistics, hotels and restaurants, as well as pharmaceutical companies, banks, and the production equipment and special equipment."
A senior politician for the Czech Republic also said that he is optimistic for the economic development made in Kurdistan, as evidenced by the huge turnout at the fair, reports AKnews.
Dr Barham Ahmad Saleh, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, said that the presence of so many countries is evidence of the confidence of these states in the Kurdistan region and its future, which is evidence that it has become a safe site and a gateway to Iraq.
He added that the Kurdistan Regional Government has adopted a "prudent policy towards prosperity, economic growth and general openness of the private sector and the private sector must play a role in this advancement." Investment in the region has reached $13bn.
The fair is expecting 60,000 visitors in the first five days.
(Sources: AKnews, Kurdistan Regional Government)