Economic reforms and investment opportunities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq were highlighted during a one-day conference in the United States.
The conference, titled ‘Iraq’s Economy: Challenges and Opportunities’, was hosted by the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations on Thursday, June 2.
Dr. Noori Othman, acting chairman of the Kurdistan Board of Investment and Minister for Coordination and Follow-up, who joined the conference by internet video conference, said "the region has great opportunities for investment and promising growth in minerals, industry, agriculture, education, tourism, health, and trade sectors."
He added that, "Kurdistan is open for the whole world and is a gate to the rest of Iraq."
"There is a great deal to hope for in the future of Kurdistan and in all of Iraq" Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said before the attendees, which included American and Kurdish business leaders, government officials, experts, and members of the media.
"Decentralization is definitely the future for Kurdistan and for Iraq if we are going to have a successful economy – but it doesn’t mean abandonment", said Representative Abdul Rahman.
James Parks, KRG Senior Economic Advisor outlined some of the goals of financial reform in the Kurdistan Region, highlighting the need for Kurdistan for to grow its financial sector and economic institutions.
Also speaking at the conference was Ambassador from Iraq Lukman Faily, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State for Iraq Ambassador Joseph Pennington, Head of the Iraq National Investment Commission Sami Al-Araji, and a number of other American, Kurdish, and Iraqi business leaders, experts, and government officials.
The conference is the first such event in Washington for some years and was organized with the support of the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Washington, the Iraqi Embassy and the office of the US Trade Representative.
Also below are links to videos from the conference:
Pt1 - Intro & Economic Mosaic of Iraq
Pt2A - Centralization or Decentralization of Iraq's Economic and Commercial Policy
Pt2B - Doing Business in Iraq
Pt3 - Business Challenges and Opportunities
Pt4 - Economic Growth and Trade Competitiveness Through Job Creation
Pt5 - Private Sector and Growth - Strengthening Transatlantic Partnership