Tough times lie ahead for the world economy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, especially for oil producing nations, yet the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Board of Investment has set out an ambitious plan for growth in 2020.
With a raft of infrastructure schemes designed to attract private foreign investment, the KRG appears determined to diversify the economy away from oil – an over-reliance upon which has left Iraq and the Kurdistan Region extremely vulnerable to global price fluctuations.
Industry, agriculture, and tourism seem to be particular priorities in the 2020 investment plan, together with big infrastructure projects in water, electricity, housing, and mass transit. Health, education, social care, and banking are also considered high priorities.
Since it was created in 2006 under Investment Law no. 4, the KRG Board of Investment has implemented 890 projects, opened up more than 65,500 dunams of land for development, and has overseen a total capital investment of $52 billion, covering every sector of the economy except oil and gas.
The vast majority of this was state spending (81 percent), while the remainder came from foreign investors (12 percent) and through joint ventures (7 percent).
With a drop in oil revenues putting a dent in the KRG’s public investment fund, and a renewed spat with Baghdad threatening its 12.67 percent share of the federal budget, the KRG Investment Plan 2020 is a clear invitation to foreign firms to spend in Kurdistan.