We are pleased to introduce the milestone of the 12th edition of Business LANDSCAPE magazine, a quarterly publication that aims to shed light on the Iraqi private sector, its challenges, developments, investments, and entrepreneurial scene and serves as a platform for the Iraqi ecosystem.
The Kurdistan Region, rich in resources and with a youthful population, is a home for leading companies on the regional stage and beyond borders. Aiming to create a vibrant and investment-friendly business environment, the 12th edition of Business LANDSCAPE magazine is the result of collaboration with the Board of Investment-Invest Kurdistan to stimulate business development and investment in the Kurdistan Region.
This edition is dedicated to the remarkable development of the Kurdistan Region. We will learn about the journey of the Kurdistan Region becoming more investable. The region has significantly transformed, focusing on stability, security, and economic development. The establishment of the Board of Investment crucially contributed to billions of dollars of foreign direct investment and the issuance of more than a thousand investment licenses. The region's streamlined company registration, online portal, digital transformation, infrastructure developments, and diversified sectors contribute to its current status. The KRG’s foreign-investment-friendly policies position the region as a competitive destination for foreign investors and continuously set the floor for partnerships with international organizations.
The Department of Information and Technology aims to enhance human and digital systems capacity through digital governance, architecture, human capital, design, security, and procurement. We explore these core Strategic Activities as well as the DIT’s strategies in approaching IT capacity-building through educational institutions, online platforms, community outreach, dedicated entrepreneurial mentorship and resources, and more. We also explore the advancement of digital services in company registration and E-Visa platforms.
We address the workforce’s lack of readiness for the market requirements. We underline contributing actions driving the mismatch between the education system offerings and the job market requirements, which can be reduced to legislative barriers and uneven distribution of financial resources. The inadequate educational system also widens the gap due to years of inconsistent long-term vision to modernize the curriculum, traditional teaching methods, and outdated job distribution based on inefficient examination methodologies. We highlight ways of youth skills development and integration into the job market, namely through influential figures and self-teaching. We explore the Rwanga Foundation’s initiatives to cultivate a generation with quality education, fostering self-awareness, proactivity, and collaboration.
We delve into the birth of the entrepreneurial university concept, making the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) a leading entity promoting entrepreneurship in Iraq's academic landscape. AUIS is actively fostering an entrepreneurial culture through training, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, and the Takween Accelerator.
Furthermore, we look into the significant transformation of the education system in the Kurdistan region to overcome challenges and adapt to the changing world. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research-KRG is actively addressing issues such as limited infrastructure, outdated teaching methods, and language barriers. Positive changes include a renewed focus on education, updated syllabi, international collaborations, robust career centers, and efforts for a smooth education-to-work transition.
We walk through over 80 years of history, rich with innovation and development. Cihan Group, rooted in the textile industry since 1947, has become a leading name in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The Group has been diversifying its portfolio through expansion to the automobile industry, educational sector, banking sector, and more, continuously adding value to the region in terms of innovation, community development, and economic growth.
The ICT sector in Kurdistan is rapidly growing, with over 500 registered ICT companies spanning software development, telecommunications, e-commerce, and digital services. With a focus on digital transformation, the KRG aims to enhance public services, administrative efficiency, and transparency. The ICT sector is experiencing a remarkable annual growth rate of 13%, attracting private investments, particularly in ICT and FinTech. The region aims to revolutionize services across the board, boosted by a tech-savvy population and competitive labor costs. We look into the ICT sector structure in terms of the main players and the types of digital and financial services provided.
We explore the most promising investment destinations across multiple sectors in the Kurdistan Region. The region enjoys stability, rich natural resources, favorable investment legislation, and a skilled workforce. Key sectors for investment include agrifood, industry, tourism, services, ICT, energy, transportation, and water systems.
Our series of interviews includes leading figures in the region. Starting with Dr. Muhammed Shukri, Chairman of the Board of Investment in KRG, discusses the overall role of the Board of Investment in the current status of the investment scene in KRG, highlighting promising sectors, investment incentives, government projects and initiatives, and more.
Sheikh Fakhir Sheikh Tayeb, the CEO of Qaiwan Group, shares the Group’s success story across all sectors. He highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change as well as the importance of renewable energy projects, such as the Qaiwan Solar Plant. He also underlines the role of Qaiwan Group regarding education and commitment to better healthcare and the real estate sector.
Dr. Akaam Kamal, the Executive Director of Halabja Group, discusses the group’s commitment across different sectors in Iraq and KRG. The Group has been actively operating in the industrial sector, real estate sector, telecommunications, education sector, food industry, agriculture, and numerous other sectors. He also emphasizes knowledge transfer, technology exchange, and foreign investment.