In 2007, the Government of Iraq requested OECD support to help identify and support policy reforms through research, policy dialogue, and capacity building. Since then, the OECD Iraq Project has assisted the Iraqi government in a wide range of economic policy initiatives in the areas of infrastructure finance, developing and implementing economic zones, and public procurement. The last phase of the Iraq Project (December 2013 to June 2016), which benefited from funding by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), focused on improving the investment and business climate in Iraq.
Iraq needs investment to cover reconstruction needs, to reduce its dependency on oil and gas and to build a diversified and more resilient economy. While the country continues to suffer from protracted, high-level internal violence and conflict, it has gone largely unnoticed that the Iraqi government has made significant progress in institutional and legal reform in the areas of investment policy and promotion. The OECD Iraq Project has actively supported a number of initiatives to that end. In the challenging environment of Iraq, it has engaged and brought together a wide range of stakeholders – central and provincial government entities, local and international businesses, and civil society – advising them on policy and making recommendations. It has achieved tangible outcomes through targeted training and capacity-building activities, helping to formulate and implement meaningful policies and legislation.
The present report offers insights into the latest phase of the Iraq Project, which focused on the investment climate. It explains how the Project adapted to Iraq’s changing environment and looks at some of the lessons learnt from operating in a fragile context. The report also explores findings in the two main areas of the Project: developing investment promotion and strengthening the investment policy framework. It suggests policy options and makes recommendations for further action in those fields in hopes that they will contribute to an environment that is better and more conducive to investment in Iraq.
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