Here comes Erbil
The devastating effects of the 2003 Iraqi War, subsequent sectarian violence and struggles for power have complicated efforts to promote foreign investment, economic growth and reconstruction efforts in the country thought to hold the “cradle of civilization”. There is, however, a city in Iraq that has managed to not only encourage investment by the private sector, but has made it the heart of its economic ambitions. Welcome to Erbil. Since its harsh economic sanctions were lifted, the northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region of Iraq has declared itself open for business, enticing foreign enterprises with generous investment laws and a relatively secure business environment. Welcome to Erbil.
With an estimated population of 1,294,0001, Erbil is the 4th largest city in Iraq. Located in socalled Iraqi Kurdistan, it straddles an interesting divide between the centralized Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (the KRG). Although Baghdad’s policies and laws still reach Kurdistan, the KRG is an autonomous authority controlling the three northern governorates of Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. It has its own President – Masoud Barzani – elected assembly, and security forces division.
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