Iraqi Economists Network

شبكة الاقتصاديين العراقيين

Economic Reform Strategy & Policy

What should the next Iraqi Prime Minister do? By Amer Hirmis*

Amer Hirmis image 2

[An open letter to the next Iraqi Prime Minister to develop Iraq’s economy]

[Risāla maftūha li Ra’īs al-Wizarā’ al-‘Irāqi al-tāli li Inmā’ Iqtisad al-‘Irāq]


In our world, there is only one race – the Human Race.

Wars and sanctions do not produce economic development – Peace Does.


Today, most Iraqis live in anticipation. Their trust in the political class that emerged over the past 14 years has waned, fast. The general election of May 12 will determine the political dynamics in Iraq over the next four years; a dynamic which will take the country in either of the following two directions:


  1. Either initiate economic development (1), as distinct from economic growth (2), by changing the direction of economic policy-making in favour of economic efficiency, equality of opportunity, creation of gainful employment for the unemployed millions and gender parity, through strong political will, establishing the basis for the rule of secular law, good governance, diminishing corruption and, inter alia, providing a regulatory framework for private sector investment to thrive, in a well-characterised and diversified economic structure, thus diminishing the endemic reliance on crude oil and gas.


  1. Or, keep edging away from the long and rocky, but ultimately desirable, road to initiate economic development, and, instead, consolidate religious, ethnic and tribal tendencies in shaping the economic dynamics of Iraq, consolidating the rentier sectors of the economy, which translate in quick profits rather than invest in the productive sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, or upskilling the labour force in the digital age or investing in education and health services and continue ignoring the establishment of well-connected local and regional markets through adequate physical infrastructure, which would otherwise save time/costs for users.

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