A new report celebrating Iraqi Kurdistan’s recent growth was published earlier this week. Written by the Invest In Group (IIG), the report explores the burgeoning U.S.-Kurdish relationship, and features interviews with Kurdish experts on the private, education, and charity sectors.
In the report, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)‘s representative to the U.S., Bayan Sami Rahman spoke with IIG about her attempts to strengthen the US-Kurdish partnership. Said Bayan,
Our immediate goals are to continue to strengthen the partnership with the U.S. in the fields of security and humanitarian assistance. We are very grateful to the U.S. for the leadership it has shown in the fight against ISIS and for providing humanitarian aid.
Bayan also spoke about the role of the KRG and the Kurdish Peshmerga in providing comfort for millions of displaced persons and refugees.
The fact that the Peshmerga are so effective and courageous against ISIS and that Kurdistan has embraced vast numbers of displaced people, especially the minorities, has helped to foster a great deal of respect for the people and leadership of Kurdistan.
Private Sector Growth
One interview features Karwan Jamal Tahir, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) High Representative to the UK. Mr. Tahir is responsible for promoting business interests between Iraqi Kurdistan and the UK, and he spoke about the growing private sector in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tahir said,
My message is that Iraqi Kurdistan is safe with a prosperous future. There are over 1,700 foreign companies including organizations such as Lafarge, Exxon Chevron, Total and Gazprom, registered and operating in Kurdistan. Billions of dollars in private investment has been made throughout Kurdistan since 2006.
According to Mr. Tahir, as part of its economic development plan– Kurdistan 2020– the KRG has been working hard to foster new business partnerships with UK-based companies.
Another important sector of growth for Iraqi Kurdistan is education– and particularly higher education— which is helping create a more skilled workforce. In an interview with IIG, Dr. Anwar Anaid at the University of Kurdistan-Hêwler (Erbil) spoke about the importance of increasing the foundations of education in the region. Anaid said,
What is needed now is government policies aimed at improving the quality of education in the Region. Quality education, which provides critical skills that complement the developmental needs of the Kurdistan Region, is required to develop a skilled labor force in the Region.
Charity in Kurdistan
With the growing refugee crisis in Iraq and Syria, the charity sector in Kurdistan has reacted swiftly with innovative solutions. When the Rwanga Foundation decided to open a designated area primarily for Yazidi internally displaced persons (IDPs), there was careful consideration given to the environment and concept of what such a place would be.
The Rwanga Foundation’s decision– in accordance with the local governorate administration– enabled over 14,000 Yazidis to move out of public and private spaces, and into a community better suited to their needs, and to the needs of other IDPs and refugees. In the end, the project provided a dignified way of living for those who were fleeing conflict and had nothing left.