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Thu 21 Jan 2010 07:08 AM

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Iraq seen as key area for GCC investment in 2010

Control Risks says Iraqi gov't is improving ability to attract foreign investors.

Iraq seen as key area for GCC investment in 2010
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY: Iraqs capital Baghdad. (Getty Images)

2010 represents a strong opportunity for GCC companies to export their knowledge and experience to Iraq, according to a global business consultancy.

Control Risks believes that improvements in the security environment and the political situation in Baghdad mean that a number of industries – not just the energy sector – are being welcomed into the northern Gulf country.

“The second oilfield bidding round showed that both the Iraqi government and foreign companies had undergone the learning process,” said Jonathan Wood, global issues analyst at Control Risks.

“The Iraqi government has learnt how to attract foreign direct investment [FDI] in a more efficient way, and the overseas firms have learnt to broker more realistic deals and profit margins.”

Wood said that oil wasn’t the only area of interest, with companies winning contracts in the power generation, telecoms, financial services, logistics, cement and construction fields.

In the first nine months of 2009, one report claimed that the UAE was the highest foreign investor in Iraq, at $37 billion, representing around a quarter of all global investments during that period.

The study, by Dunia Frontier Consultants, said that the only other Gulf country to make a significant investment in Iraq was Kuwait, with $6.8 billion during that period.

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