The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Banking

Middle East: Welcome to Erbil, Iraq

As Iraqi oil production is ramped up, a big bank run and Al Qaeda attacks are undermining basic faith in the financial system. Nevertheless, especially in safer areas such as Iraqi Kurdistan, there are signs of how the country’s potential could be exploited.

ERBIL’S WEALTHIER SUBURBS are beginning to look like a city in the Arab Gulf – Dubai, or Saudi Arabia, perhaps. Half-finished hotels and office blocks, and tacky housing developments, are interspersed with busy new highways radiating away from the ancient citadel at the core of the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

With peace, other parts of Iraq might come to look like Saudi Arabia too. If the country meets its oil industry targets, it could even become the world’s biggest producer by the end of the decade.

The Kurdish government hopes that the autonomous region alone could, if all goes well, rank alongside such producers as Kuwait and the UAE by the middle of the decade. Erbil will soon become the world’s latest oil boom town – as long as the Kurds can resolve a bitter dispute with Baghdad over the validity of oil contracts signed independently of central government with foreign firms.

Ezat Issa, head of finance at the Kurdish Council of Ministers

"Because security is so much better in our region, more and more companies are using Kurdistan as a base, as a gateway for Iraq"

Ezat Issa, Kurdish Council of Ministers

An economic boom is already in full swing in Erbil.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree