Irbil Gives Chance

Next week, the Czech embassy in Bagdad opens a branch office of its commercial department in the town of Irbil in Central Kurdistan. „It is a good step,“ confirmed Josef Hušek, director of Inekon, to the Ekonom Magazine. The Iraqi Kurdistan is a relative oasis of peace in that disturbed country. Inekon signed a contract in the region to construct a cement plant which is worth 328 million EUR. „We had no problem staying in Irbil and outside the town,“ said other collaborators of the company who spent some time in Irbil preparing the contract.

Kurdistan wants extensive autonomy. The local government does not like foreign armed forces to be present in the region. The result is that this part of the country is already on the way of renewal and first investors are coming. The situation in the region will also be reviewed by a business mission organized by the Czech Union of Industry and Transportation. „There are opportunities for other Czech companies in Kurdistan,“ says Václav Dlouhý from Inekon. However, he adds: „Under Saddam Hussain, many Iraqi Kurds went into exile and found refuge especially in Germany and Skandinavian countries. After returning home, they use their contacts and support companies from countries that helped them.“ „There is tough competition in Kurdistan,“ admits Hušek.

The interest in Kurdistan is great, also because of Kurds claiming the oil fields around the town of Kirkuk. And oil means money. The hope for the continuation of an encouraging development can also be guessed from the fact that the new Iraqi prime minister Djavad Maliqi, although a Shiite Muslim, is acceptable even for Iraqi Kurds and even for the Sunite Muslims. That is why the relative stability and prosperity could spread from Kurdistan to other parts of the country.

Source: Ekonom Magazine
Date: 27 April 2006