Iraq’s economic growth is constrained by a lack of sound economic policy, corruption, negligible rule of law, state dominance, the flight of investment capital and low levels of external investment. IRIS aims to promote economic reform based on sound research and case studies, and generate independent and reliable analysis as well as a platform for vigorous public debate. Questions we ask:
• How do we define meaningful economic reform and what does it entail?
• What is needed to accelerate the reform process?
• Are state institutions able to implement economic reform and handle its consequences?
• Is it possible to have economic transformation without political reform?
We also consider the prospects for diversification and inclusive growth. Currently, 35 percent of the Iraqi population is living below the poverty line and youth (17-25) face a 60 percent unemployment rate. Under pressure to cut fiscal expenditure and reduce unemployment, the government as well as those in the private sector have turned to entrepreneurial initiatives. However, the ecosystem required for entrepreneurship to thrive does not yet exist. Entrenched political, economic and socio-cultural interests impede Iraqis, and especially Iraqi youth, from reaching their potential. Our work considers how to build an environment that encourages startups and enables entrepreneurial ventures to take hold and succeed.
Recent publications under the Economic Reform and Development portfolio include the following:
- Statehood in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq through an Economic Lens: February 2018
- Toward Economic Recovery and Food Security in Post-DAESH Iraq: A Framework for Governance Moving Forward: December 2017
- Iraq's Economy After ISIS: An Ivestor's Perspective: November 2017
- Decentralized Rent-Seeking in Iraq's Post-ISIS Economy: August 2017
- Obstacles and Opportunities for Entrepreneurship in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region: July 2017
- IRIS Booklet Series: The State of the Economy: March 2017
Inside Iraq's Cash Economy: April 2016
Kurdistan's Great Recession: December 2015
Recent events include:
- Assessing Women's Entrepreneurial Potential in the Aftermath of the Kuwait Conference: March 2018
- IRIS Dialogues: Iraq's Economy in Transition: March 2018
- Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship Summit: April 2018
- AUIS Global Entrepreneurship Week: November 2017
- Entrepreneurship in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region: June 2017
- Economic Reforms in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: November 2016
- Private Sector Economic Development in the KRG: May 2016
- Economic Recession in the KRI: October 2015