US-Iraq Conference on Iraq’s Economic Priorities

On October 4, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission co-hosted an economic conference to discuss a new assessment report evaluating Iraq’s economic priorities.

The report was released by USAID’s provincial economic growth project, Tijara, and was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission and USAID.

According to the report, Iraq’s economy grew 9.6% in 2011, but cautions that “Iraq’s over-reliance on oil revenues may jeopardize the development of a diverse private sector economy.” Today, more than 90% of Iraq’s revenue comes from the sale of oil and gas.

Among its recommendations, the report suggests a need to develop Iraq’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors, two areas that could provide employment opportunities for Iraq’s future generations.

“This is an exciting time to be in Iraq. There is no shortage of economic and institutional challenges. But the political leaders have in their hands the opportunity to make effective long-term changes that could bring prosperity and stability to Iraq and its citizens.” said Douglas Silliman, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The purpose of the USAID-Tijara provincial economic growth program is to provide business development and financial services to Iraqi beneficiaries throughout all 18 provinces in order to grow the Iraqi economy and create employment opportunities. The program also supports the expansion of commercial lending though microfinance institutions and banks.

(Source: US Embassy)

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