Which sectors do you expect to see more foreign investment?
The investment policy of the KRG focuses on industry, agriculture, and tourism. Since the Kurdistan Region has become such an important area for all of Iraq, the policy also focuses on medical issues. Patients from all the provinces of Iraq are coming to Erbil because it is safer. We are also focusing on housing. To date, we have 90,000 units under construction. In the near future, the focus will specifically turn to agriculture and water. We have plentiful water resources. So, I expect the KRG to focus on infrastructural improvements, such as dams and irrigation systems. We need to implement better organization and planning to utilize those assets fully.
What do you expect in terms of growth within the city?
I fully expect oil revenues to increase in the near future, thanks in large part to the entry of major companies. This will then mean a greater budget for both Iraq as a whole and Erbil itself. We have the freedom and the opportunity to grow. From 2004 to 2012, we spent $7 billion on infrastructure improvements. In that same period of time, we had over $16 billion of private sector investment. So, obviously, private sector investment has played a significant part in the growth of the city. As a result of the significant amount of the investment capital has been implemented in Erbil, I believe that in 5 years, Erbil will continue to expand, with significant growth in all sectors.
What has the Erbil Strategic Master Plan provided for the city?
We utilized highly skilled individuals from both within Iraq and abroad in order to make this plan become a possibility. The initial plans detailed how to expand the airport and the oil sector, as well as increase power generation in the energy sector. People can see the effect the plan has had on the city. The airport is now modern and appropriate in size. Numerous facilities for higher education are located along Kirkuk Road. The road system itself has expanded. So, it is clear that the city is expanding, but on a scheduled, fixed plan.