Between 2007 and 2012, Iraq experienced rapid economic growth fueled by the expansion of oil revenues and the restoration of relative peace in many parts of the country. Yet, one in five Iraqis lived in poverty; and many more faced significant disadvantages in human capital, access to basic services and productive employment opportunities. The current crisis will no doubt make many more vulnerable. This report argues that fundamental development challenges remained largely unaddressed during this period – establishing the rule of law and good governance, investing in education and health systems and critical infrastructure, and diversifying the economy by enabling the private sector to grow and create jobs. Instead, oil revenues were redistributed through public sector employment and earnings, while the Public Distribution System remained the only source of protection for the poor. The report recommends a series of policy actions that are essential to build an inclusive economy and society as Iraq looks to the future.
The report is organized into nine chapters, and is accompanied by an overview and three policy notes.