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Kurdistan economy proves draw for UAE Brits

: Tuesday, September 10 - 2013 @ 15:38

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) figures from the past three years show the semi-autonomous region has attracted almost $22bn worth of investments from abroad, with an unprecedented boom in the consumer and construction sectors.

British companies have started to capitalise on Kurdistan’s favourable political and economic conditions with more than 100 UK firms registered in the region.

Taking advantage of the growing interest in Kurdistan, the British Business Group Abu Dhabi in collaboration with UKTI and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has organised an overseas third country trade mission to the capital, Erbil, later this month.

The collaborative mission to Iraq’s third-largest city, Erbil, will educate potential British investors about the opportunities of investing in a growing global commercial hub.

“British-Kurdish relations have gained momentum over the past years as UK firms are highly recognised for their quality of skills, expertise and products,” said Jonathan Davidson, chairman of BBG Dubai. “This programme will serve as a connecting pipeline between Britain and Kurdistan by further facilitating British establishments in an increasingly growing commercial hub of Erbil.”

The overseas mission, which will bring East and West entrepreneurs together coincides with the International Erbil Trade Fair 2013, the largest general trade fair in Iraq exhibiting multi-sector business establishments. The touring business programme in Erbil will host several table gatherings and site visiting, with key government-trade officials and establishments.

Speaking on the programme, Richard Oliver, chairman of BBG Abu Dhabi, stated, “This mission is a great opportunity for British businesses to invest in a commercial city – and country – where British expertise and services are highly valued and appreciated.”

The trade programme will further invite the British Consul General, Minister of Trade & Industries and the Minister of Board of Investment in Kurdistan to speak at the event.

Meanwhile, Turkey represents the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ‘gate to the world’, according to Falah Mustafa, the KRG’s Minister of Foreign Relations.

Turkey is the KRG’s biggest economic partner, responsible for 70% of investment into the region, and has recently constructed a series of oil pipelines, despite Baghdad’s objections.

“This result is that, while the KRG has been able to reduce its dependence on Baghdad, it has simultaneously become overly reliant on Turkey”, writes Abdullla Hawez, a journalist and commentator based in the region.

“In addition, while it has been busy improving its ties with the Turkish government, the KRG seems to have forgotten Iran’s importance to regional politics and security. The Islamic Republic is the most influential foreign power in Iraq, and its ties to the country’s Shi’a population go well beyond friendship,” he adds.

Just last week Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani launched ‘Kurdistan Works’, an online portal for employment opportunities and training, provided by the KRG to boost the private sector.

“I believe we take a modest step, a simple step, but a necessary step. This job fair is a clear indication of the strength of the private sector in Kurdistan, and the Kurdistan Works website will serve as a bridge to connect our talented, capable, and eager workforce with the foreign and local companies that drive our economy,” said Barzani.

The website, kw.krg.org, aggregates private sector jobs throughout the region, also providing information for companies and job-seekers regarding training, employment laws, and related subjects.

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Tuesday, September 10- 2013 @ 15:38 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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