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Tue 24 Nov 2009 12:19 PM

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UAE tops list of foreign investors in Iraq in 2009

New report also shows Kuwait is big spender as total investments more than double to $241bn.

The UAE is leading the way as foreign investments in Iraq more than doubled in the first nine months of 2009, compared to the previous year.

A new report has revealed that the UAE's investment in the war-torn Middle East country has exceeded $37bn and represents nearly a quarter of all global investments so far this year.

In total, foreign direct investment in Iraq has reached more than $156bn, a 241 percent increase on 2008, the report by Dunia Frontier Consultants said.

The study comes as it was announced that Abu Dhabi-based developer Bloom Properties was in talks with the Iraqi government to build a huge property development in Karbala.

According to media reports, the development has been valued at $18bn – making it the one of the largest property building projects ever announced in Iraq.

Dunia's report said that a total of 53 foreign investors and firms from 24 countries had announced spending in Iraq in 2009.

Apart from the UAE, the only other Gulf nation making a significant investment in Iraq was Kuwait which has so far spent $6.8bn.

Other countries eyeing major opportunities in the country include South Korea ($24.7bn), the US ($22bn), the UK ($10.5bn) and Lebanon ($10.1bn).

Whereas real estate was the main focus of foreign investment in Iraq previously, the oil and gas sector has soared to the top of the latest list, Dunia added, as energy investments rose from $18bn to $73bn.

The report said: "Despite the turmoil faced by international financial markets over the last year, Iraq has seen an astounding acceleration in deal-flow and investment.

"The country is poised to continue strong economic growth and attract future private FDI."

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