Private Foreign Investment 'Vital for Iraq’s Growth'

Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Bahaa Al Araji (pictured), told a high level international conference in Baghdad on Wednesday that his country recognised the vital importance of foreign investment and Iraq was full of opportunity.

Dr Bahaa said the Government was ready to extend all facilities and offer incentives for businesses to come to Iraq. Large provision had been made in the latest national budget for this.

Speaking at the conference, organised jointly by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), the National Investment Commission (NIC) and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce, Dr Bahaa said he was particularly keen to encourage UK firms to come to Iraq.

We know these firms will do business in the right way. They would be very welcome to help us reconstruct our country,” he added.

The Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Dr Sami Al Araji, continued on the same theme, telling the audience of senior UK and international business leaders that Iraq was reforming itself for outside investment.

We want to change from a central economy to an international economy. We want to be open to other countries and make all facilities available to encourage them to invest. If we want to work with the outside world then we must deal with business in the international way,” said Dr Al Araji.

He said the country had more than 900 projects that could be offered up for international investment and participation.

Iraq’s Minister for Oil, Dr Adil Abdul Mahdi, also spoke of the urgent need for foreign investment.

To achieve our ambitions to serve the country better and maximise production of oil, we need to improve our infrastructure for oil and gas. We are actually losing more now than we historically produced in total,” said Mr Mahdi.

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