World Bank Group Delegation Considers Iraq’s Investment Potential
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2009—Representatives of the World Bank Group’s board and senior management are visiting Iraq next week to discuss the country’s investment potential and underscore the Group’s commitment to assisting in its sustainable economic recovery. Participating in the delegation are Merza Hasan, Executive Director for Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan; Daniela Gressani, the World Bank’s Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Region; James Bond, Chief Operating Officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and Michael Essex, IFC’s Director of Middle East and North Africa region.
“A key element of the World Bank Group’s strategy in Iraq is to enable private sector development as the driver of job creation” says Gressani. “The World Bank Group is supporting the creation of a healthy business climate which will lay the ground for much needed private investment.”
The team will meet with business leaders and government officials as well as Iraq’s National Investment Commission, which has been established to promote investment into the country. “IFC is committed to helping Iraqi businesses grow and create jobs by providing both investment capital and advisory services,” said Essex.
The delegation will seek to raise awareness of the various IBRD financial products and services that add value to the Group’s engagement with the country and open new lending prospects. The instruments that the Group’s private sector entities can apply to help facilitate investment are particularly important. This includes financing from the IFC, political risk insurance from MIGA, as well as technical assistance to help the country attract increased foreign direct investment.
“Since Iraq became a member of MIGA in October 2008, we have heard from a number of investors who are interested in seeking MIGA’s political risk insurance,” says Bond. “MIGA has a strong record of supporting investments into countries emerging from conflict and we are keen to facilitate sound and productive investments into Iraq.” Bond cited the oil industry, financial services, building and construction, telecommunications, and transportation as areas ripe for investment.
Following this visit, a team from the World Bank Group will be conducting a formal assessment of Iraq’s investment climate. The assessment will help guide the Group’s support to Iraq in developing its private sector policies and provide essential background to prospective investors.
“Iraq is rich in human and natural resources,” says Hasan. “Our objectives are to listen and investigate to see how the World Bank Group can be an effective partner in easing investor concerns and helping the country attract developmentally beneficial investment.”