Iraq, officially known as the Republic of Iraq, is a West Asian country. It is bordered by Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. The country covers a total land area of about 437,072 square kilometers with a population of approximately 39 million people. The capital and largest city of Baghdad also acts as Iraq’s economic, political, and communications center. With a GDP of about $193,521 million, Iraq’s economic drivers are agriculture, services, and industries. The economic condition is expected to continue improving gradually as it recovers from many years of civil wars. With the defeat of ISIS militia group in 2017, the country is now focused on providing services, creating job opportunities, and rebuilding infrastructure. In support of this agenda, the World Bank has already invested US$88 billion for the post-ISIS reconstruction.
Iraq plays a significant role in the international oil market. The country has a proven oil reserve of about 115 billion barrels. The success of the oil sector is significant to the economy of Iraq as oil production and sales account for nearly 70% of Iraq’s GDP as well as more than 95% of the government’s revenues. Iraq is a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Iraq produces about 2 million barrels of oil per day constituting about 2.5% of the total world oil supply. The richest oil regions in Iraq are Basra, Baghdad, Ba’aj, and Ramadi.
Agriculture accounts for about 7% of the Iraqis GDP and has employed 21.6% of the workforce either directly or indirectly. Tension from the military conflicts such as the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 and the Gulf War of 1991 significantly affected the agriculture sector. Today, the agricultural sector in Iraq has been modernized especially in the areas of farming and use irrigation techniques that have led to increased agricultural production. About 4-5 hectares of land in Iraq is under cultivation. The major cereal grains grown are wheat and barley. However, other main crops grown include rice, vegetables, citrus fruits, sugarcane, cotton, and dates. Iraq is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of dates.
The service sector contributes about 40.6% of Iraq’s GDP. The sector has the largest labor force in comparison to many other sectors in the economy. The services provided include finance, telecommunications, tourism, retail, private security, transportation, and government services. Resources used to pay for the services offered have been boosted by the oil industry in Iraq. For instance, the oil industry-related revenue finances most of the government services including the health sector and education. From the early 1970s onwards, Iraq started free health care and free education up to the university level.