Fourth Meeting of the Working Group on Investment Zones in Iraq
Amman, 11-12 November 2012
>> Agenda (pdf)
>> Final Declaration (pdf)
Iraq is a potentially attractive investment destination, with a strong and booming consumer market, access to raw materials and labour, a strategic location, and potential first-mover advantages in a range of sectors. Although ICT and tourism are among the country’s most promising sectors, their development is hindered by a range of administrative, institutional, and regulatory challenges. Establishing investment zones could help overcome these barriers and channel new sources of investment to these high-potential sectors.
This meeting explored different investment zone development models and examined case studies on zones specialising in information and communications technology and tourism development. It included a training session on project finance and the role that Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) can play in developing zones and attracting foreign direct investment to Iraq.
Working Group participants noted a number of vertical and horizontal industrial actions and policies needed to ensure that Iraq’s proposed Baghdad International Airport (BIA) ICT zone and potential tourism project developments succeed, including: developing institutional capacities and proper administrative policies; stimulating government support for investment in targeted sectors; developing linkages between stakeholders; targeting specific sectors; and attracting anchor investors.
The final declaration called for the next Working Group to continue to develop Iraq’s FDI framework and to explore additional development scenarios for the BIA zone. In addition, OECD and Working Group experts will examine development paths for the Basra Investment Zone; and review, if available, a feasibility study on Babil’s Hatein Zone and development plans for a commercial zone in Diyala province. The Working Group will continue to develop the Iraqi government’s technical skills in project finance and train National Investment Commission (NIC) members on the development and management of investment zones.
Participants included project finance consultants, international legal experts, the World Bank, tour operators and tourism zone developers, ICT zone professionals, and government officials from Jordan and Turkey. The Government of Iraq’s delegation included representatives of the Offices of the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Infrastructure and for Economic Affairs, the Babil and Diyala Investment Commissions, the National Investment Commission, and the ministries of communications, finance, and industry and minerals.