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Investing in Iraq requires patience, drinking tea

Serena Chaudhry reports for Reuters:

Foreign investors seeking a foothold in Iraq take heed: you'll need a healthy dose of patience, a flexible schedule, and a love of tea.

Nearly nine years since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains a state-centric economy and, beyond oil, private businesses have yet to play a significant role in the rebuilding of the once thriving Middle East bread basket.

Infrastructure remains dilapidated after years of war and economic sanctions, and investment is needed to reform banking, build houses and roads and fix a chronic electricity shortage.

That means plenty of opportunities for investors, but foreign executives already on the ground say it can take more than a year to become operational in Iraq, where security is one of the most costly risks.

Taking the time to build relations with local partners is the key to success, they say.

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