The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Barham Ahmed Salih [Barham Saleh], laid the cornerstone of the second largest shopping complex in Kurdistan.
The ceremony in the city of Sulaimaniyah city underlined the region's growing economic power.
The complex will be built by the Kurdish investment group, Hiwa [Hewa], owned by Ahmed Majidi, who opened last year the luxurious Majidi Mall shopping center in Erbil.
It will cover an area of 100,000 square meters and will cost US$150 million [175 billion Iraqi dinars]. The project is to be completed in 30 months.
"Now the investment volume in Kurdistan Region has gone beyond US$13.5 billion" said Salih, "and there are many other companies who would like to come this region to do business. This is an achievement for Kurdistan"
Many international companies are expected to open branches in the luxurious shopping mall.
In Erbil, the renowned Kuwaiti Hypermarket City Centre sells 450,000 products on 13,000 square meters of floorspace.
The parking lot of the center can accommodate 2,500 cars. The shopping mall will be the second branch of Erbil-based Majidi Mall.
During the opening ceremony, Salih urged the company to carry out similar projects in Dohuk and Kirkuk as well.
Majidi Mall's second branch in Sulaimaniyah will become one the largest shopping complexes in Kurdistan Region and Iraq. Nazim Mutallib, supervisor of the project said: "50,000 sq m of the area will be dedicated for the three-story building"
Erbil's Majidi Mall is built on 130,000 sq meters.