Reforms can drive Kurdistan to growth

31 de maio de 2016

São Paulo – The regional instabilities that affected the growth of Kurdistan, the autonomous region in the North of Iraq, could be sidestepped with the adoption of a growth plan released this Monday (3) by the World Bank. Poverty has doubled in the last few years and development was affected by the conflicts that hit Syria and Iraq. The World Bank announced the plan as a way to propose new paths for Kurdistan to manage the impacts of regional conflicts and keep developing.

The document is titled “Reforming the Economy for Shared Prosperity and Protecting the Vulnerable” and suggests measures that need to be adopted by Kurdistan’s authorities in the next three years.

The report brings short- and medium-term measures. The World Bank director for the Middle East department, Ferid Belhaj, said that the region “has strengths and opportunities” to get its economy out of crisis.

“These [the opportunities] include large natural resources, fertile agricultural land, a young and entrepreneurial population and a central and, so far, relatively stable location on major trade routes. It also has a government determined to implement reforms and a donor community eager to help,” he said.

Some of the suggestions by the World Bank for Kurdistan to resume growth are to promote fiscal adjustment and expand social security measures to deal with the humanitarian crisis of refugees and internally displaced people that come to the region. The document estimates that 1.8 million Syrians and Iraqis entered the autonomous territory since 2014 and that meeting the needs of everybody carries an approximate cost of USD 1.4 billion, according to estimates made in 2015.

In the same document, Ali Sindi, Minister of Planning of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), said that implementation of the economic reform plans demands the support of allies of the regional government so that all the interests are met. “Our government welcomes this economic reform roadmap and is fully committed to implementing reforms to secure fiscal consolidation in the short-term and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth in the KRI in the medium-term while protecting our people from the impact of multiple crises through robust social mitigation measures,” he said.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani