World Bank: Economic Reforms will Help Growth in Kurdistan

Economic Reforms will Help Achieve Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

A new World Bank Group report proposes a series of reforms to enable Iraq’s Kurdistan Region to chart a path out of the difficult economic challenges it faces toward a more sustainable and diversified economic future.

The combination of factors that have recently placed more pressure on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) include fiscal crisis, close proximity to conflict, and influx of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The proposed roadmap, Reforming the Economy for Shared Prosperity and Protecting the Vulnerable, serves as an economic guide to help policy makers address both immediate and longer term challenges in the KRI in the next three years.

“The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has strengths and opportunities to get the economy out of crisis,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Director for the Middle East department. “These include large natural resources, fertile agricultural land, a young and entrepreneurial population and a central and, so far, relatively stable location on major trade routes. It also has a government determined to implement reforms and a donor community eager to help.”

The Bank proposes a strategy that could pull the region out of its current fiscal crisis and gradually put the economy on a balanced and sustainable path to growth. This includes introducing economic reforms to strengthen the KRG’s capacity to isolate its core expenditures from external fluctuations in revenue.

“Accompanying fiscal adjustment and structural reform measures, the KRG’s recent social protection framework should be strengthened and retooled to handle the ongoing social and humanitarian crisis.” said Sibel Kulaksiz, World Bank Senior Economist, and Lead Author of the Report.

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