Iraq is one of the most strategic business locations in the Middles East. Since 2003, Iraq has experienced a dramatic change from a centralized economy to a market economy. The democratization of the country, introduction of competitive business & equal opportunity, reinvestment of oil profits, and diversified business investmentshas allowed the country, including the Kurdistan Region, to develop and grow at a staggering pace.

The countries rising oil exportation and production of hydrocarbons give the country an edge in the global economy. Iraq has the world’s 4th largest oil reserves. Furthermore, the Kurdistan Region is steadily becoming a major oil player in the Middle East, with a reported 45billion barrels in reserves.

Traditionally Iraq has always been centrally planned economy, with pre-planned decisions being made at the highest levels of governance. With the change of power since 2003, Iraq has become a model market economy, which has attracted billions of dollars of investment from both foreign and local businesses. Legislation has also played a major role in the increase of investment, as Iraq’s new legal framework has created a safe and secure playing field for both investors and the country.

Although its autonomous borders are within Iraq, the Kurdistan Region broke free from the centralized economy of the centre and south of Iraq in 1991. The Kurdistan Region has had a diversified economy, which has grown organically since the Region gained autonomy from the Ba’athist regime. After the Iraq invasion of 2003, the Kurdistan Region became the centre of one of the Middle Easts biggest economic booms. Centred in the capital of the Region, Erbil, the boom took the Kurdistan Region to unprecedented levels, and took economic and political experts by surprise.

Today, thelabour force is considerably larger than it was a decade ago as a result of steady population growth and an increasingly dominant youth demographic. In 2012, the total labourforce in Iraq was 8.2 million people, which was nearly a 2 million increase from 2004, and almost doubles the size it was in 1994. The increase of labour force is a steady indicator of the increase in business and real estate development.

Iraq and the Kurdistan Region offer endless opportunities to both their local and international businesses and investors. Due to the abundance in oil & gas reserves the country is restructuring itself from within and creating a modern state in the heart of the Middle East.