Economic reforms hampered by political divides

Iraq’s “white paper” laid out an internationally acclaimed roadmap for economic reform. But the problems are so pervasive — and political will to tackle them so weak — that progress has been slow.
Iraqi Minister of Finance Ali Allawi in Baghdad on June 22, 2020. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty)

BAGHDAD/DUBAI - As Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi approaches the end of his term, Iraqi leaders are grappling with whether and how to continue his administration’s efforts to reform the economy.

The government's economic reform package, enshrined in a detailed "white paper" in October 2020, presented both short-term measures to respond to a financial crisis and a long-term vision for fixing major structural problems, including over-dependence on oil and an anemic private sector. Iraq Oil Report spoke with several senior government and industry officials, analysts, and business leaders, who said progress is being made — albeit very slowly.

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