The Ministry of Planning of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a study on Micro, Small, and Medium-Enterprises (MSMEs) in Iraq.
The study provides an evidence base to inform policies and strategies aimed at creating sustainable livelihoods in Iraq, including through MSME development.
Funded by USAID, the Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Survey covered the four governorates of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Halabja and Duhok and expands on an initial survey covering Baghdad, Basra and Ninewa governorates.
The survey is designed to build a comprehensive analysis on MSME structures, trends, business dynamics, challenges and opportunities through up-to-date, reliable, relevant market information and analysis. Key findings of the KRI survey highlight low participation of females in MSME ownership (13%), financing issues, and weak marketing structures.
Auke Lootsma, UNDP Iraq Resident Representative, said:
"MSMEs in Iraq face significant challenges. As we continue to grapple with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in Iraq, this study once again highlights the importance of the private sector in Iraq to create much needed economic diversification and sustainable employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups.
"This critical work could not have been possible without our strong partnership with the Ministry of Planning, and generous support from our longstanding partner USAID."
The KRG Minister of Planning, Dr. Dara Rashid, emphasized his support for the initiative. He expressed his appreciation for the important support provided by UNDP Iraq and USAID in designing and implementing the timely study, and noted the importance of continued support to develop an action plan to implement its recommendations.
USAID Director Elise Jensen added that:
"MSMEs are a vital part of a healthy economy. They offer opportunities for youth, women, and vulnerable populations to actively contribute to the country's economic growth and long-term stability.
"We are proud to partner with Kurdistan Regional Government counterparts and the private sector to enact critical initiatives and reform projects that empower MSME growth and elevate their role in developing the economy."
The survey is part of UNDP Iraq's Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER) programme - implemented by UNDP Iraq to promote sustainable poverty-centered economic reform in the country, with generous support of the American people through USAID.