Iraq must develop its private sector to spur diversification into non-hydrocarbon industrial sectors and create employment opportunities for Iraqi citizens. To do this, Iraq must confront a number of challenges that stifle its reconstruction, including: a legacy of relying on public sector employment; its cumbersome regulatory and legal investment framework; high levels of perceived corruption; and the challenges stemming from a heavy dependence on hydrocarbon exports.
In 2007, the Government of Iraq requested the OECD’s assistance to help tackle some of these issues. In response, the OECD created, with financing from the US Department of State, the MENA-OECD Investment Programme Iraq Project. Through the project, MENA-OECD partners with the Government of Iraq to develop improved policies designed to promote investment and to provide tools to implement those policies.
To work on these challenges, MENA-OECD created three work streams:
These work streams bring Iraqi government officials, governments and development agencies, the OECD and other international experts, and the private sector together to address overall policy issues and focus on a few pilot projects as examples.
The Working Group on Infrastructure Finance in Iraq is charged with making recommendations on priority infrastructure projects and preparing related public-private participation proposals or development bank loan applications. The Working Group assists the Government of Iraq in accessing extra-budgetary sources of finance for essential projects and works to render budgetary funds more effective.
The Working Group on Investment Zones in Iraq assists the Iraq government in creating investment zones focused on the domestic market that attract companies through the provision of streamlined administrative services, security and infrastructure. It works to generate employment, attract investment, and boost regional and national economic growth.
The Capacity Development for Integrity in Public Procurement workstream promotes capacity development for integrity in public procurement through seminars, training sessions, expert coaching and publications on international investor exposure to integrity standards, including the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
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Seminar on improving competitiveness in the MENA region, 24-26 June 2012
MENA-OECD contributes to Iraq training workshop of the US Department of Commerce, 19-21 November 2009