DAVOS, Switzerland – Iraq’s finance minister is confident that the country will weather the global economic slowdown. “I think for Iraq, if the security can be guaranteed, there is a chance for Iraq to have economic growth,” Finance Minister Fuad Hussein said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The annual event that brings world political and business leaders to the Swiss Alps opened with a pessimistic note from the International Monetary Fund that announced the global economy is slowing down, though not going into recession. Iraq is facing an uphill slog – emerging from conflict with an estimated enormous $88 billion reconstruction bill and an angry population demanding deep reforms to abolish endemic corruption. Hussein acknowledged there is a lot to be done in terms of rebuilding the country and reshaping the economy – diversifying away from its dependency on oil – but he is hopeful he will find public and private partners at Davos. The challenge will be to make Iraq attractive to potential investors. “We need also to create an atmosphere for those investors.
When I am talking about atmosphere, I’m talking about a legal framework, but also security must be there so that all these investors can come to Iraq and share with us the rebuilding of the economy,” he said. And any boosts to the Iraqi economy will be shared in the Kurdistan Region, he asserted.