by: Bahaa Arnouk, Senior Manager, Audit, Deloitte Iraq

As one of the Middle East countries with affirmed US$80 billion in infrastructure projects for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the liberated areas, in addition to the potential of earning US$5 trillion in oil revenues between 2013-2035 to become the world’s second largest oil exporter[1], Iraq has a lot to offer. If we were to add to that the competitive corporate and individual tax rates, favorable capital and investment requirements to running a business, as well as an annual high GDP, Iraq compellingly becomes a promising and attractive market to invest in by international economic forces and players. Nevertheless, this is not the complete story; various other external factors place the spotlight on the Iraqi market and drive its potential.

There have been numerous commitments made by several international stakeholders to finance the reconstruction of Iraq, such as the US$400 million fund recently approved by the World Bank for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Mosul, and the newly liberated areas in Iraq. This is following an initial sum of US$350 million approved in 2015 for an ongoing emergency operation development project.[2]

The global economy changes and the rise of new international economic forces in our current world will undoubtedly play a significant role in leveraging the future of our regional economy.

One good example would be that of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which was announced back in 2013 by the Chinese leader Mr. Xi Jinping. The BRI initiative would consist of revitalizing and reactivating the ancient Silk Road, the most famous trade road in the old world with as large as USD 900 billion in planned investment[3].

Middle East countries including Iraq, are among those of the belt’s countries that are expected to be impacted by the upcoming planned investments in infrastructure, roads, trade channels and regulatory environment reforms and regulations. As such, the region will have to take necessary measures to ensure its readiness to take full advantage of the BRI.

Are you able to sense the potential now?

Regardless of the type of investor, whether an international services provider, trader, manufacturer, constructional contractor, targeting several classes of lucrative bidding opportunities, or even an entrepreneur, everyone stands to win from investing in Iraq.

With the several business models explained in our point of view article “Call ME PPM”, and with all the potential in different industries and sectors in Iraq, the potential is clear.

[1] EITI – Overview of Iraq – https://eiti.org/iraq

[2] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/10/31/400-million-for-the-reconstruction-of-mosul-and-newly-liberated-areas-in-iraq

[3] http://time.com/4776845/china-xi-jinping-belt-road-initiative-obor/

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