When Iraq’s transport minister addressed the country’s first transport and infrastructure conference in Baghdad this week, the foreign companies present made feverish notes on the key opportunities that he presented.
That international companies are already at work in Iraq is an early sign of success. France’s ADPI is involved in the development of Iraq’s aviation infrastructure and has now opened a bureau in Baghdad.
A Canadian firm had been building the Najaf monorail until financial issues stalled the project. A team of Italian companies are currently carrying out the design of the Grand Faw port in southern Iraq
Karbala is set to reap the benefits of new developments such as a planned monorail and a airport. Basra will have a rehabilitated airport and a new port in the future.
In Kurdistan, Irbil International airport has already been successfully expanded. There are plans to build a new passenger terminal and extend the runway at Mosul airport, while a greenfield airport is earmarked for Duhok.
While the conference highlighted the opportunities available to foreign investors, it also cast light on the issues of financing and security.
Iraqis are keen to divert attention from the security issues, a strategy that continues to disrupt progress. Security concerns will carry on limiting foreign appetite for investing in Iraq until a more stable country emerges.