Today marked the conclusion of Kurdistan Projects, a three-day event organized by MEED which successfully attracted a large number of international companies pursuing investment and business opportunities.
Attendees heard from senior KRG officials, government experts, and leading private sector representatives on a wide range of topics. This is the third year MEED has hosted a conference in Erbil, with the Kurdistan Projects event highlighting four key themes: sustainable long-term growth, improvement of building standards, improvement of workforce capacity, and the latest economic developments of the Region.
KRG Spokesperson Minister Safeen Dizayee discussed the development of the Kurdistan Region over the last decade as well as current political issues. He said, “The KRG was dismayed by the decision taken in Baghdad to unilaterally and illegally cut the Kurdistan Region’s budget. Despite this, the KRG remains open to dialogue and partnership, but so far the dialogue has not been very fruitful.” In response to a question, the Minister pointed out that Baghdad owes the KRG more than $6 billion and has not received any budget at all for months. At the same time Minister Dizayee assured investors that despite outstanding disagreements with Baghdad, the investment climate in Kurdistan remains bright, businesses continue to thrive, and the KRG is fully committed to promoting private sector development.
Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa discussed the government’s vision for the future, emphasizing the importance of foreign direct investment. He said, “We firmly believe in our ability to develop a diversified and robust economy, focusing on essential improvements in health, education, infrastructure, and a dynamic private sector that can provide our citizens with job opportunities.”
Commenting on the conference, MEED Events Chairman Edmund O’Sullivan said, “We are delighted to work with the Kurdistan Regional Government and major private sector investors on this ground breaking conference set to reveal opportunities across key sectors, including: oil & gas, power, real estate, industry, hospitality & tourism, water & agriculture, and banking & finance.”
A number of speakers from various KRG ministries and boards also informed the audience of the government’s activities and plans in their areas of expertise. One such topic was food and water security, with various directors-general addressing the attendees and briefing them on infrastructure projects that are currently underway or are in the planning stage. Director-General Akram Rasul from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources highlighted the importance of water security. He said, “Water is more important than oil and gold; there is no alternative to it. It is a security matter which the Kurdistan Regional Government takes very seriously.”