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publication May 27, 2021

Iraq Economic Monitor: Seizing the Opportunity for Reforms and Managing Volatility

Latest Issue: 
  • Spring 2021

With a special focus: Towards Increased Economic Opportunities for Women in Iraq

The Spring 2021 issue of the Iraq Economic Monitor provides an in-depth review of the latest macroeconomic and policy developments in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the collapse in oil prices. These twin shocks led to the largest GDP contraction (10.4 percent) since 2003 and the fiscal deficit deteriorated to 6.4 percent of GDP while the most vulnerable Iraqis bore the brunt of these shocks. In the absence of reforms, Iraq’s recovery is projected to remain below potential in the medium term.

The report proposes avoiding opting for short-term measures such as cutting public investments and accruing arrears which would only increase the long-term cost and timeline of economic recovery. Instead, the recent more favorable oil prices present a crucial opportunity for building back better and further diversifying the economy towards a greener one that can create more jobs for Iraqi youth in the private sector.

The Special Focus of the report highlights the economic opportunity cost of Iraq’s low female labor force participation. The report provides a broad overview of the main obstacles to female entry to labor force as well and other behavioral and regulatory factors restricting female employment in Iraq. The special focus also presents a matrix of reforms for improving employment opportunities and economic participation for Iraqi women.