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From War, to Reconstruction and Economic Recovery
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After three years under combat operations, the end of Iraq’s war against the Islamic State (ISIS) encourages the country’s reconstructionand economic reformation. As a result of healthy foreign international reserves, limited restrictions on cross-border fund transfers as well as an attractive legal framework that provides greater protection and incentives for foreign investors, investments in the country is expected to generate the highest rate of returns.Apart from FDI, primary opportunity areas for global companies also include technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvement across all industries. Most industries operate on obsolete or old technologies as wars and earlier sanctions prevented access to latest technologies.As a national development plan, Iraq aims to boost the economy through privatisation and development of oil & gas as well as minerals along the value chain. The plan is to not only privatise existing state-owned enterprises but also support SMEs with tax holidays and financial incentives. All in all, FDI inflow is expected to help the Iraqi Government to achieve the target within the next five years.Enabled by the prospect of greater stability and security, Iraq has listed a total of over 212 projects ready for investment across more than 10 sectors. Of these sectors, oil and refineries is the most promising sector for investors followed by industrial and manufacturing, infrastructure, health and education, energy and agriculture sector.With a population of nearly 40 million, Iraq is also emerging as one of top consumer markets in the Middle East that primarily depends on imports. Frost & Sullivan’s recent study, Iraq’s Untapped Opportunities; Path to Investment Boom, highlights the growth potential in the following markets from 2018 to 2022 – Grains, Food & Beverages (8-10% CAGR), Pharmaceuticals (10-12% CAGR), Beauty and Personal Care (8-10% CAGR), Furniture and Homewares (5-6% CAGR), Footwear, Textile and Apparel (5-6% CAGR), Medical Devices (18-20% CAGR), Consumer Electronics (7-8% CAGR) and Plastic Products (9-10% CAGR).Iraq plans to focus on the Oil & Gas value chain, downstream value chain, Minerals value chain, and tourism and financial services to move the GDP growth rate by 6% annually in the next 8 years. Hence, with a population of over 39 million people as of 2018, Iraq remains an attractive consumer market with potential of over USD 40 billion.
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