Iraq is expected to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world and the country could experience further growth, if Oil & Gas legislation and regulatory reform are approved. Recent years have clearly shown that Iraq’s socio-economic problems can be attributed to the ineffective use of oil revenues and to weak institutions, which have become a constraint to delivering even basic services. This paper shows that Iraq has made limited economic progress and will demonstrate that without sound institutions and social cohesion it is impossible to make significant economic progress. Since oil is the country main drive for economic growth, the paper will discuss the potential of implementing the “National Energy Strategy” to meet domestic energy needs; foster the growth of a di-versified national economy; improve the standard of living of Iraqi citizens and create employment. The analysis will also demonstrate that the new energy strategy could make Iraq one of the most powerful economies in the region but that this is highly contingent on its having sound and robust institutions. If this is not achieved, the country could move towards what is commonly referred to as the “Oil Curse”.
Kamal Field Al-Basri and Mudhar Al-Sebahi, Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform, Baghdad, Iraq.