By Padraig O'Hannelly.
As we start another year, the focus of media attention has been, understandably, on Iraq's increasingly difficult security situation. But as always, there is more to the story.
For example, professional services firm PwC has said its Iraqi business has grown by 30 percent over the past year; the government has just approved a $256-million deal with Dutch shipbuilder Kuipers, and; the World Bank has approved a $335-million road fund.
As Mark Bryson-Richardson, British Charge d'Affaires in Iraq, told the Press Association:
"Iraq has experienced momentous change over the past 10 years ... [it] has moved out of Chapter VII of the UN Charter and has one of the world's fastest-growing economies, with a growth rate of 8.4 percent.
"On a day-to-day basis, Iraqis are seeing a more open media, have access to more goods and services, and are engaging in a public debate about the future of their country."
Baroness Nicholson, of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), said:
“Iraq is not in a settled neighbourhood but it’s doing very well. There are many safe areas where you can do business, and one or two hotspots that I’d advise you not to go to. It’s a question of knowing the territory.”
And knowing the territory, in every sense, is the key to success in Iraq. As the coming year will see fresh parliamentary elections, further developments in the dispute over oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan, along with a raft of new contracts, our team at Iraq Business News will continue to keep you briefed on the lie of the land.
With another challenging but potentially rewarding year to come, we at Iraq Business News wish all Iraqis at home and abroad a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014.
(Flag image via Shutterstock)