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ILO partners to advance Financial Education among Iraqi Youth


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The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the ILO partner to advance financial education among youth in Iraq

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS) in Iraq have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their cooperation in advancing financial education among youth in Iraq.

The new partnership focuses on training a pool of national trainers from the Ministry in various governorates on ILO's Global Financial Education Programme, designed to teach financial knowledge and management skills to vulnerable groups, particularly young women and men.

The trainers will in return train around 1,000 young women and men on the tool, with a focus on those who are looking to start or improve their businesses in various sectors. The selected youth will include forcibly displaced persons, returnees and host community members, with a focus on Ninewa.

The initiative is being carried out by the ILO under the PROSPECTS partnership which is supported by the Government of the Netherlands.

"The Ministry has undertaken an important approach related to raising financial awareness and education, which emphasises the need for young people wishing to engage in the labour market to become well-informed of the main principles governing financial management through planning for personal budgets or business budgets and ways to deal with their finances...The most recent of which is the agreement with the International Labour Organization to set up a financial education programme in which a group of youth from ten governorates are trained with the aim that they launch their own training initiatives targeting around one thousand young people," said Minister of Youth and Sports of Iraq, H.E. Adnan Dirjal.

The ILO Global Programme on Financial Education is a comprehensive programme that addresses limited levels of financial literacy around the world, through national policy dialogue and capacity building at all levels and has been implemented for more than ten years in multiple countries.

The ILO has adapted the programme to address the needs of the Iraqi context and has begun to roll out the programme at the national level.

"The Labour Force Survey of Iraq shows that more than one-third of the youth population in Iraq was not in education, nor in employment or training. In addition, the youth unemployment rate was more than three times that of the adult unemployment rate. These figures highlight the urgent need to attract more youth towards the private sector and entrepreneurship," said Maha Kattaa, ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq. "Our collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports is a step in the right direction as it will enhance the capacities of young people in managing their finances, while supporting them to build sound relationships with financial institutions, which will help their businesses to grow."

PROSPECTS is a strategic four-year global partnership, that supports host communities and displaced populations in eight countries across East and North Africa and the Arab States and which also includes UNICEF, UNHCR, IFC, and the World Bank.

(Source: UN)

Posted in Employment, Iraq Education and Training News
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Iraq Labour Survey: Key Stats and Download


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Earlier this week, Iraq's Ministry of Planning, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched a national Labour Force Survey, the first of its kind to be conducted in Iraq in the last decade.

They have now provided a link to the report, which can be downloaded here.

Some key stats:

  • employment rate:16.5%
  • female unemployment rate: 28.2%
  • male unemployment rate: 14.7%
  • youth unemployment rate: 35.8%

(Source: UN)

Posted in Employment, Iraq Industry & Trade News
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Iraq's First national Labour Force Survey in a decade


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Iraq's Ministry of Planning, the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) have launched a national Labour Force Survey, the first of its kind to be conducted in Iraq in the last decade.

The survey presents estimates at the national, governorate, urban and rural levels and covers a broad array of indicators on the labour market and demographic characteristics of residents in Iraq.

The CSO and the Kurdistan Region Statistics Office (KRSO) conducted the Iraq Labour Force Survey in 2021, with technical and financial support by the ILO.

The main objective of the survey was to collect current data on the size and characteristics of the labour force, employment, unemployment and other labour market characteristics of the population, including working time, income from employment of employees at main jobs and informality of employment.

The survey was also designed to measure different components of labour underutilization, including time-related underemployment and potential labour force, and other forms of work, in particular, own-use production of goods and services, in line with the latest international standards adopted by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The findings of the survey were presented at an event in Baghdad on Tuesday (July 5), which was attended by the Minister of Planning Dr. Khaled Battal Al-Najem, and ILO Country Coordinator Maha Kattaa.

"The survey provides estimates at the national and governorate level and provides important indicators on the labour market and demographic characteristics of Iraq's residents," said Minister of Planning Dr. Khaled Battal Al-Najem. "The survey will pave the way for the quick identification of needs relating to the creation of employment for Iraq's citizens. It will also provide indicators that will help develop important long-term policies that address the needs of the labour market," Minister Al-Najem added.

"The findings show that 13 million women are in the age of the employment, yet only around one million are working. The findings also show that more than one-third of the youth population is not in education, nor in employment or training," said ILO Country Coordinator Maha Kattaa. "There is an urgent need to create more decent job opportunities that can attract women to the labour market, and attract youth towards the private sector and entrepreneurship, as the public sector cannot absorb the growing number of youth entering the labour market each year."

Main Findings

The Labour Force Survey, with a sample size of 16,400 households covering Iraqi and non-Iraqi households, presents estimates at the national and governorate level, covering Iraq's 18 governorates.

The survey was conducted in line with the latest international standards adopted by the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The survey results reveal that the national labour force participation rate (LFPR) - the percentage of people who are active in the labour market, either employed or unemployed - stood at 39.5 per cent in 2021. According to the survey results, about 30.2 per cent of the total working age population were outside the labour force in 2021. The great majority of persons outside the labour force were female.

The female labour force participation rate was particularly low standing at 10.6 per cent in comparison to 68 per cent for males.

The data further show that the LFPR of young people (aged 15 to 24 years) was 26.5 per cent, and that of adults (aged 25 years and above) was 45.8 per cent.

The employment-to-population ratio - or the percentage of the working-age population that is currently employed - is often used as an indicator of the performance of the national economy in providing employment to its population. In Iraq, it stood at 33 per cent indicating that only about one-third of the working age population (15 years old and over) were employed in Iraq in 2021 The ratio is lower among women (7.6 per cent) compared to men (58 per cent), and lower for youth (17 per cent) than for adults (40.6 per cent).

The data show that the unemployment rate stood at 16.5 per cent, indicating that for every five employed persons there was roughly one unemployed person. The female unemployment rate (28.2 per cent) was about twice the male unemployment rate (14.7 per cent) and the youth unemployment rate (35.8 per cent) was more than three times that of the adult unemployment rate (11.2 per cent).

The survey presents results by geographical distribution, disaggregated by urban and rural, and by governorate. The data show that the labour force participation rate was higher in urban areas (40.3 per cent) than in rural areas (37.3 per cent). Similarly, the unemployment rate was higher in urban areas than in rural areas, standing at 17.6 per cent and 13.3 per cent respectively.

The survey measures informal employment, which is employment that is not covered or is insufficiently covered by formal arrangements and protections, and employment in the informal sector, which is employment in establishments that are not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements. The results show that around 54.8 per cent of total employment was in the informal sector and the number of persons with informal jobs represented 66.6 per cent of total employment.

The results show that most employed persons usually worked between 30 and 59 hours per week at their jobs (61.1 per cent). The number of persons usually working short hours, that is less than 30 hours per week, was relatively low (20.5 per cent), but significantly higher among women (41.8 per cent) in comparison with men (17.7 per cent). At the other extreme of the distribution, the survey results show that some 17.9 per cent of employed persons usually worked long hours - more than 60 hours per week. The rate of those working long hours was much higher among men (19.8 per cent) than among women (3.1 per cent).

The survey finds that almost one-third of Iraq's extended labour force - the labour force and the potential labour force combined - was affected by some form of labour underutilization. The data reveals that the composite measure of labour underutilization, which combines unemployment, time-related underemployment and potential labour force, stood at 31 per cent. In general, labour underutilization affected women (49.5 per cent) much more than men (27.3 per cent), and youth (53.3 per cent) much more than adults (24 per cent).

The results show that women tend to be more concentrated in services (73.1 per cent) and agriculture (14.4 per cent) than men in the corresponding broad branches of economic activity (62.2 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively).

[Update: The original press release failed to provide a link to the actual survey; you can download it here.]

(Source: UN)

Posted in Employment, Iraq Industry & Trade News
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PM Candidate meets UK Officials


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On the 20th June, Sheikh Mohammed Alkhouzai, Iraqi Prime Ministerial candidate, attended meetings in London to discuss the current social pressures and political issues in Iraq.

Sheikh Mohammed met with the Hon Matthew Offord MP, the Chairman of the United Kingdom Parliament's All Party Parliamentary Group on the Republic of Iraq at the Palace of Westminster. The meeting was positive with both sides agreeing to the importance of unity in national politics. The discussions covered topics such as security, the future of Iraq's economy and the role of international actors in the future of Iraq.

Sheikh Mohammed said:

"Iraq faces some real struggles in the near future. Electricity blackouts, water shortages and rising unemployment all at a time of soaring summer heat is going to create significant stress within communities. Now is not the time for siding with division; now is the time for cooperation and working together to solve these nation-wide issues. There must be political leadership to confront these harsh realities"

At the end of the meeting both Mr Offord and Sheikh Mohammed confirmed their desire to work together in the future and to support Sheikh Al-Khuzai's program to solve crises in Iraq.

Sheikh Mohammed then met with Chairman of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), The Rt Hon Sir David Lidington. Sir David is a former foreign Minister and former Deputy Prime Minister. Given the nature of RUSI's work the discussion was focused on the security of Iraq and the potential for unrest in the forthcoming summer months.

Sheikh Mohammed spoke passionately about the importance of both the tribal and religious leaders of the country, army officers and members of the judiciary, whose leadership are critical in the forthcoming months in ensuring the unity of the nation. He also spoke about the importance of creating new economic opportunities to deliver new jobs for the young adults of Iraq.

The discussion also centred on the role of foreign actors and his name being nominated for prime minister. Both men agreed that while Iraq is not currently able to build its future alone, its future and the road to get there must be decided by Iraq and the Iraqi people. While Sheikh Mohammed welcomed foreign investment he also said that he would not allow foreign countries to determine the future of the nation.

The end of the meeting came as both Sir David and Sheikh Mohammed agreed to work towards the potential of creating a bridge between RUSI and the leading actors that help to make up Iraqi political society.

Speaking about the meetings Sheikh Mohammed said:

"It is clear that senior people within the political sphere of the United Kingdom want to see a bright future for Iraq and are willing to help the nation achieve it. But, they will not waste their time on a country that is trying to tear itself apart. Strong leadership and a unified Iraq, based on our shared ambitions from Zakho to Fao is how we will build a better Iraq."

(Source: Mohammed Alkhouzai)

Posted in Politics
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gold bullion (Pixabay)

Video: Workers Risk Health in Iraq's Gold Smelters


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From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq's smelters: Workers risk their health for gold and silver

Decades of instability and corruption in Iraq have led to high unemployment.

That is forcing some people to resort to dangerous work to make a living - including panning for precious metals in wastewater.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from the Iraqi capital Baghdad:

Posted in Healthcare, Iraq Industry & Trade News
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market in East Mosul 2 (credit Fared Baram and NRC, OKed by Laila Matar 171221)

Tensions Simmer on Iraqi Streets as Food Prices Rise


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From Amwaj Media. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Tension simmers on Iraqi street as food prices rise

Already faced with chronic issues such as persistently high unemployment and a lack of access to basic services, Iraqis are now hit by skyrocketing prices for food staples.

Observers blame the jump in prices on both the Russia-Ukraine war and endemic corruption.

The rising consumer price inflation has sparked street protests in different parts of the country.

The full report can be viewed here (registration required).

(Photo Credit: Fared Baram/ NRC)

Posted in Agriculture, Iraq Industry & Trade News, Politics
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Basra oil terminal (Pixabay)

IOCs in Iraq need Oil Wealth to Trickle Down


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From Amwaj Media. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Why foreign oil companies in Iraq need oil wealth to trickle down

Iraq's oil wealth is among the greatest on the planet.

Total proven crude reserves are estimated at 150 billion barrels, and daily output is over 4.6 million barrels-making it the fifth-largest producer in the world.

But much of this wealth does not trickle down, and that is perhaps paradoxically particularly the case in the oil-rich south.

The full report can be viewed here (registration required).

Posted in Iraq Oil & Gas News, Politics
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The Economics of Iraq: Ancient Past to Distant Future


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Iraq Business News Expert Blogger, Dr Amer K. Hirmis, has just published a book that takes readers 6000 years back to early Mesopotamian polity, culture, and religious codes which shaped the economy, and continue to shape much of the body of Iraq's polity, economy and society today.

Economic inefficiency, inequality and lack of sufficient employment are common threads that run throughout Mesopotamian/Iraqi economic history. The persistence of poverty, high unemployment, conscious discrimination against women, and a polity dictating blind allegiance and obedience from the subjects to the ruler, denied the Iraqis achieving economic development, the ultimate aim of which is the sustained improvement of the well-being of the people. Even when economic growth was attained, it was desperately non-inclusive.

With a novel approach to economic development, this book examines Iraq's economy over the past 100 years. It establishes the historical roots in the consumption patterns, nature of the producers, the economic structure, trade, monetary and fiscal policy and resource allocation. In all these areas the echoes from the ancient past are striking. The principles of Sumerian taxes are still applied in present-day Iraq.

The book proposes a set of conditions, which will need to be created for Iraq to achieve economic development and functional democracy, in the distant future.

Download the book free of charge.

Posted in Amer K Hirmis, Iraq Industry & Trade News, Politics
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Illicit Activities, Instability in Iraq's Southern Border Area


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By Harith Hasan, for Carnegie Middle East Center. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Eden Denied: Environmental Decay, Illicit Activities, and Instability in Iraq's Southern Border Area

Iraq's Basra Governorate, on the border with Iran, has endured environmental degradation due to conflict and a reduction of water flows into the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

The ensuing decline in agriculture has led to rural migration, unemployment, poverty, a flourishing of informal and illicit economies, and the growth of violent groups.

Iran's dominant influence in Iraq has sustained this situation.

Unless these problems are addressed, instability in Basra will increase and will have long-term consequences for Iraq and the Middle East.

Click here to read the full report.

Posted in Iraq Industry & Trade News, Iraq Public Works News, Politics, Security
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Partnership Supports Private Sector Development in Kurdistan


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New partnership supports private sector development in Iraq's Kurdistan Region

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Planning (MoP) have today signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will boost the private sector by encouraging the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The MoU provides a general framework for cooperation between the two parties to conduct a survey of MSMEs, funded with the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in all governorates of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG): Dohuk, Erbil, Halabja and Sulimaniyah.

The survey, which follows a similar survey conducted in Federal Iraq across Baghdad, Basra and Ninewa, will build a comprehensive understanding of MSME structure, development trends and operations, MSMEs a sustainable economic base in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

"Micro, small, and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of a healthy economy. They are also exceptionally vulnerable to risk. The U.S. Government, through USAID, is proud to contribute to this important research that sheds light on the opportunities and challenges of this critical sector and promote sustainable economic growth in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region," says USAID Mission Director to Iraq John Cardenas.

"The KRG is very grateful to USAID and UNDP for their assistance in conducting a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survey, which will be held for the first time throughout the Kurdistan Region. This will help identify deficiencies and provides recommendations for developing these institutions to provide job opportunities for young people in the private sector and reduce the unemployment rate, especially among young people." says Minister of Planning of KRG, Dr. Dara Rashid.

"This partnership is critical to enhancing livelihoods creation through strengthening the development of MSMEs in the Kurdistan region. We have already derived some extremely valuable insights through the Federal Iraq survey which has helped us develop a roadmap on the way forward - ensuring business owners and those thinking of starting their own business have the necessary support and encouragement they need," says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq Zena Ali Ahmad.

"This memorandum is another testament to the excellent cooperation between UNDP Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government - a key partner across many of UNDP's initiatives - as well as the partnership with our generous donor, USAID. We are extremely grateful for its ongoing commitment to fostering private sector growth in both Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq," she added.

(Source: UN)

Posted in Iraq Industry & Trade News
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