Finance

An Overview of the Kurdistan Region’s Economy: Shortcomings and Opportunities

5 Mins read

In 2006, when I decided to go to Kurdistan, launch a business, and settle there, I made a very luxurious entrance by making exaggerated expenses, not knowing what was needed, without doing the field research with the excitement of coming to the Free Lands.

I have read and found it quite over for analysis the “Türkiye’de Geri Kalmışlığın Tarihi” that was written by Turkey’s former Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. After a while, I watched with amazement that Cem made the political mistakes he criticized in his book one by one.

I compare what I did in 2006, when I first went to Kurdistan, to what Ismail Cem did. One of the issues I criticized frequently was that Kurdish businesspeople lacked foresight, did not do enough fieldwork, and entered luxury wherever they go.

In 2006, when I decided to go to Kurdistan, launch a business, and settle there, I made a very luxurious entrance by making exaggerated expenses, not knowing what was needed, without doing the field research with the excitement of coming to the Free Lands.

My Mistakes As A Businesswomen

I grew up in Ankara, official dull colors from home decoration to the clothes I wore dominated us. 

We have imposed our own style on them without listening to those people, regardless of their tastes, wishes, and even though they never wanted to, we built and shaped the buildings in our own way.

Sometimes, we passed beyond our limits, intervened in the interior decoration of their homes, and designed them according to our own taste. 

After a long time, we learned to listen to their demands, more we learned to listen to them and took note of their requests. Our projects have begun to increase. Even, projects got so intense that we couldn’t keep up with the jobs.

Women Entrepreneurship in Kurdistan Region of Iraq

After we launched our business and entered the Kurdistan and Iraq market, we realized the biggest problem that there were no women entrepreneurs in Kurdistan yet. There were only a few civil servants in official institutions, but there was no women business owner in that time. As women, we were not more than ten in business life. From northern Kurdistan, we were three or five women. Naturally, we found ourselves in a women’s struggle that develops spontaneously. By imposing our business identity on the locals, we opened our way by scraping it with our nails.

We struggled with our own efforts against employers’ attitudes, even though the government gave us a lot of affirmative action. Acting with the belief that we will break this prejudice, of course.

Women all over the world have to struggle to deal with various problems in business life.

I understood Kurdistan very well because I knew the roots of their attitude. Saddam’s persecution had suppressed people so much and created a timid people. Kurdish people were not allowed even to go to nearby villages, let alone international trade. Since I knew this, I fought that war willingly and fondly.

Strengthening the Economy

To go back to the beginning, while Kurdistan was living its golden age, we all had mistakes. We were wrong in our predictions, and we could not analyze the aftermath, unfortunately. Medium or large-sized companies from Turkey should have been protected and supported by international law. Kurdistan and Turkey should establish commercial embassies. I’m not talking about commercial attache or consulates.

These commercial embassies can be like an association to include companies, but they must be semi-official. Through associations, should be created that a supply chain stretching from the end consumer, Kurdistan and Turkey need to develop trade between.
It is still not late, even as we are entering a much more productive process. The government can create a safe and reassuring environment for foreign companies to enter the region’s market.
When ISIS terrorist organization attacked the Kurds, many Turkey-based companies have abandoned southern Kurdistan. Idealists like us remained in Kurdistan until the end despite the war and threats, but the existence of companies like us meant nothing. The important thing was for huge companies to stay and continue their business. Capital is timid and leaves the place where it does not feel safe and seeks safer ports.

Future Prospects

In the upcoming period, the Kurdistan region will once again become the center of attraction for trade in the Middle East. (I do not say this as a slogan, all signs show it in this direction) Both the government, the public, and the companies have been thoroughly experienced. I believe that from now on, everyone will be more attentive and efficient.

Of course, it should not be forgotten that the Kurdistan region is just being established. Experiencing such negativities is very natural, every new organization will experience this type of pain.

Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani with Pope Francis.

In fact, I can easily say that despite the central government’s budget cuts and the relentless war against ISIS, Kurdistan has given this test many times more favorably than the states that have recently been fully independent. He threw off his astonishment more quickly and recovered.

We know that the President of Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani attaches great importance to the agricultural policies. Kurdistan region must implement these agricultural policies urgently.

Netherlands’ oil, Kurdistan’s flowers

When it comes to Netherlands, we immediately think of flowers and the Dutch cow in commercial terms.

The Netherlands has discovered huge natural gas resources since 1959. The sale of natural gas has been channeled into the government’s budget, generating enormous revenues for the Netherlands for decades.

In this case, it is necessary to ask why underdeveloped or developing countries like Kurdistan do not favor agriculture and animal husbandry.

For instance, the Kurdistan region is a candidate to become the trade base of the Middle East. The Regional government must take a step in this regard. It must abandon oil-based and unsustainable prosperity.

After the coronavirus, the world will not be the old world, and we know that the strong ones will survive.
Dozens of crops can be grown because the soil and climate of Kurdistan are fertile. Let alone meet the national needs, the region can export to a large extent and dominate the regional market. The Kurdistan region will obtain a large amount of income even if only exports to the Iraqi region.

Yes, I also know that the lands of Kurdistan are virgin. There is an abundance of reserves of petroleum, natural gas, brass, marble, and other resources. However, there must be strong political relations, time, and a large amount of money to extract them. The tremendous comfort of sitting on these should now seriously disturb us.

If Kurdistan had enough for itself, if it had been able to produce, it could not threaten someone to starve while closing the doors during the independence referendum process.

Agriculture should be given importance, and policies should be handled accordingly, as well as animal husbandry. The plains of the mountains of Kurdistan are literally a paradise for animal husbandry.
In the Kurdistan region, we have built great cities. Let’s now produce the products that will nourish the stomachs of those cities.

 
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