Germany and the European Union join forces to support private sector growth and employment prospects in Iraq
Baghdad, 18 July 2021.
Since its start in 2018, the “Private Sector Development & Employment Promotion” (PSD) Project, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Planning, can look back at numerous achievements to support economic development and job creation in Iraq. The project has so far supported over 20,000 young job seekers to enter the labour market. Additionally, key governmental partners were supported to promote the agenda on economic reforms on topics ranging from digitalisation to strengthening the participation of women in the economy.
In May this year, the European Union (EU) joined the efforts of the German Government through a co-funding agreement until 2024. In total, Germany has already committed EUR 34.65 million to the project, while the EU provides additional funding of EUR 19.1 million.
The joint project supports governmental efforts to create conditions for a growth-oriented business and investment climate in Federal Iraq as well as in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It supports fact-based policymaking and promotes dialogue with the private sector on crucial economic reforms. In addition, the project helps to create employment prospects in the private sector for young Iraqis, following an integrated approach that combines skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, and advisory services for small and medium companies.
With the EU co-funding, the PSD project is able to expand its geographic reach, upscale its approaches on employment promotion and job creation, and support additional government partners in their efforts to improve the business and investment climate. The launch of this cooperation was officially presented to stakeholders on the 11th of July in the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad. Participants on the Iraqi side included officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and the Federal Commission of Integrity as well as representatives from the private sector organisations, such as chambers and business associations.
This engagement comes at an important time. The Government of Iraq is committed to a comprehensive reform process, as laid out in its “White Paper” on economic reforms. The PSD project will support the implementation of these economic reforms through technical advice, support to organizational and individual capacities as well as sharing international best practice experience.
His Excellency Martin Huth, Ambassador of the European Union, recognized this important momentum in his opening speech: “As Team Europe, the European Union together with its Member States in Iraq, are committed to increasing economic opportunities across Iraq. Private sector development has the potential to provide decent work to many young Iraqis, women and men. Our joint project between the EU and Germany will provide tangible concrete support to the Iraqi government as it implements the economic reforms laid out in the White Paper. I am confident that by 2024 we will have contributed to improving the business environment, enabling the private sector and encourage investment with our strong partners in the Iraqi Government. Through this important project, we will also empower young people to find decent job opportunities in the private sector.”
German Chargé d’Affaires Mr. Peter Felten emphasised the necessity to create an environment for the private sector that enables “young entrepreneurs to acquire the means to realise their business ideas, an environment that provides incentives for employment in the private sector, an environment that makes it attractive for foreign companies to invest in Iraq, and very importantly, an environment providing high-quality education and training for young people. Germany has supported Iraq on its path towards stability, peace and prosperity since 2014 with over 3,5 billion USD, including the implementation of sustainable economic reforms.”