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Baroness Nicholson: Iraq has massive potential

February 4th, 2014
01:57 PM ET

Britain's trade envoy to Iraq, Baroness Emma Nicholson, says that while Iraq is still facing huge challenges, it has "massive potential" for growth.

"Iraq is indeed growing dramatically in terms of private investment and in terms of output in oil and gas and construction of infrastructure… Iraq is most definitely growing at the rate of 10% a year, and has the highest potential growth rate in the region."

Along with its potential, the country faces some obvious challenges, the most critical being the level of on-going violence. Nicholson accepts this. "One of the great difficulties of course is the Sunni-Shia violence coming out of Syria, which has been spilling over into Iraq for much more than a year... I think there's nearly half a million Syrian refugees, and much of the violence is stemming from that. But nonetheless Iraq is growing."

One of the consequences of over a decade of instability has been an undereducated workforce. "There is of course a big deficit in education and training, and that's why universities and tertiary education and the learning of English as a business language is absolutely critical. The future is very good indeed, but my goodness me, it's a tough struggle to get there, but that's no reason not to be in there to help."


Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Business • Middle East • Syria
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