OCTOBER 1, 2020[/size]
A report by the bank stated, “Iraq is now at a crossroads. After nearly two decades have passed since the 2003 war, the country is still stuck in a reality of fragility, and is facing an increasing state of instability. Political, escalating social unrest, and an increasingly deep gap between the state and the citizen.
The report added, “In the midst of a number of crises (including the decline in oil prices, the Corona pandemic, and recent protests) in addition to the accumulation of the effects of weak economic policies, the absence of reforms, and the inability to address corruption, Iraq is now witnessing the worst performance of growth in annual GDP. (GPD) during the year 2020 since the fall of Saddam's regime (in 2003).
"Instability, lack of job opportunities, corruption, and poor service delivery remain among the most important risks surrounding the country's long-term growth," he stressed.
And the World Bank continued that, “With every crisis, an opportunity appears for reform, but Iraq's path towards reform will be difficult and uncertain. If we take into consideration the current oil prices and the continuing decline in global oil demand due to the Corona pandemic, the country will face difficulty in meeting the needs of its people in the short term.” .
He added, "But Iraq can embark on a long road, but an urgent need for it, towards structural transformation and reform, a path that may make its economy less dependent on oil and be driven more by private sector activity." The widespread protests that have erupted since October 2019 and raised doubts about the country's current political economy, make clear that such a path towards reform can no longer be avoided.
Nevertheless, this report demonstrates that the path towards reform will require more persistence and may face many long-standing challenges to change the status quo.
This report highlights what Iraq can accomplish to maintain future growth, but it also explains the reasons that have made the country unable to date to achieve high levels of diversified growth along with achieving peace, stability and better living standards for its citizens.
The World Bank also proposes strategic paths through which Iraq can be liberated from the reality of fragility, and where peace and stability can create the appropriate conditions for citizens to achieve their aspirations, create jobs in the private sector, and achieve prosperity.
In this context, the four chapters of the report provide an insight into the main causes of fragility in Iraq and the challenges of the political economy and their effects on the diversified growth model, an analysis of the characteristics of growth in Iraq and the country's potential and the benefits of economic diversification, a diagnostic framework for trade and an assessment of Iraq's potential for trade and regional integration in order to create growth and stability, A review of the agricultural sector in Iraq, from primary farming to agri-food systems, and its ability to support economic diversification, growth and stability.