A US-led business delegation comprising of a number of international companies visited Kurdistan this week to explore investment opportunities in the fast-growing region, with a focus on agriculture, food and water sectors.
The delegation, led by Steven Lutes, the Director of the US-Iraq Business Initiative (USIBI) at the US Chamber of Commerce, met with the Department of Foreign Relations to discuss opportunities in these sectors. The meeting was also attended by representatives from several foreign investment companies.
Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the DFR, highlighted the role foreign investors play in contributing to the continued development and revival of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. He said, ‘Our people seek good quality as well as choice of products and goods, which your companies can help provide by bringing the latest technology, know-how, expertise andexperience.’
Minister Mustafa added, ‘The development of the agriculture sector will not only help revive our fertile lands and provide skilled jobs and livelihoods for our people but is also key to our government’s plans to diversify our resource-rich region in order to reduce dependency on the energy sector, which we will need to avoid for a sustainable future.’
Mr Lutes emphasised the high level of interest in investing in the Region from both the US government as well as the chamber of commerce. The friendliness of the people, the stability of the Region, the favourable investment laws and receptiveness of the KRG have helped establish Kurdistan as an attractive emerging economy and to serve as the gateway to the rest of Iraq and other regional markets. Both sides agreed on the importance of cooperating in order to enhance mutual relations, particularly in areas of the specific interest in agriculture, food and water.
Minister Mustafa spoke of the KRG’s plans and efforts towards the long term goal of attaining self-sufficiency in food and water with the help of foreign investors. He said, ‘We are happy and willing to work with other provinces and cities in Kurdistan to help foreign companies establish a presence in the Region.’
The KRG is aiming to reactivate the agricultural sector, for example by subsidising farmers with equipment and by improving access to and availability of statistical data in order for investors foreign to the Region better gauge avenues of opportunities.