By Courtney Trenwith
Iraqi autonomous region is Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s third international office
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has opened its third international office in Kurdistan, Iraq, to help facilitate business in the emerging market.
The Kurdistan office, in the capital Erbil, also will assist Dubai Chamber members in Central Asia, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, the chamber said in a statement.
Dubai Chamber chairman Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair said the chamber hoped to strengthen economic ties with Kurdistan, an autonomous region of Iraq which was emerging from the Iraqi war with huge economic potential.
The Kurdish economy is now one of the fastest growing in the Middle East, with double digit growth and numerous companies, including from the Gulf are investing in the state.
In October 2013, Dubai developer Emaar launched an ambitious $3bn master community project called Downtown Erbil.
The 10-year development will cover 541,000sqm including 15,000 residences, three five-star international hotels, 715,000sqm of office space, the city's largest shopping mall and restaurants.
It is expected to create as many as 45,000 jobs.
Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the company was attracted to Erbil by its dynamic investment environment.
"There's no doubt there's a strong sense of optimism and positivity here that reminds me of my home town Dubai," Alabbar said during a speech at the launch in Erbil.
"Such a dynamic city requires an equally dynamic city centre, a vibrant heart that ... further energises the economy."
Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Sharjah-based Air Arabia also have recently announced direct flights to Erbil in another indication of the state’s growing business environment.
Erbil is the Dubai Chamber’s third international office after Azerbaijan and Ethiopia.
“There are tremendous investment opportunities available in Kurdistan across various economic sectors, especially trade, reconstruction and the development of infrastructure, oil, tourism and industry,” Al Ghurair said.
“Through this representative office, Dubai Chamber can bring its members closer to these opportunities, while sharing Dubai’s expertise and knowledge with the business community in Kurdistan.”
Dubai Chamber president and CEO Hamad Buamim said the office also would help members connect to other nearby markets.
“The office in Erbil provides added value for UAE companies and will help them access businesses opportunities in Kurdistan and connect them with local partners," he said.