AWC has four members in Iraq and works also with non-member organizations.
AWC monitors the policies and activities of the following International Financial Institutions (IFSs) in Iraq:
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Iraq joined the IMF in 1945. The Iraqi government got its first loan from the IMF in 2005 Since then, Iraq received 5 loans from the IMF.
Since 2003, the IMF has been assessing the Iraqi economy periodically. This assessment is known as Article IV Consultation in reference to the article number 4 in the IMF’s Articles of Agreement that established the IMF’ surveillance role.
World Bank Group (WBG)
Iraq joined the WBG in 1945. Throughout the years the bank invested in 150 projects in the Iraqi public sector. As of September 2020, the Bank has and 10 projects in the pipeline (under preparation).
The International Finance Corporation, -the arm of the World Bank Group that invests in private sector- has developed a portfolio exceeding US$1 Billion in Iraq since 2005. 10 IFC projects are currently active in Iraq (October 2020 data).
The World Bank Group prepares a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for each country it is active in. The CPF outlines the Bank‘s strategy in this specific country y over a three to five year period. The current CPF for Iraq is under preparation and it will cover the period from 2021-2026.
The European Investment Bank (EIB)
Iraq sought membership in the European Investment Bank in 2018, and was approved by the Bank in 2020. The membership process is still underway currently.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Iraq submitted a request for membership in April 2018. The Bank’s Board of Governors has agreed to the first stage in this process on October 2020. Iraq is working on some pre-membership requirements before the membership process concludes.
Main issues that AWC focus on in Iraq
Iraq’s economy is heavily dependent on oil as it constitutes 96% of its exports and 43% of its GDP (2019). This makes the economy fragile and vulnerable to external shocks such as oil prices depreciation. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic and long history of war, sanctions and tensions, have put a halt to the country’s progress and development, especially in creating robust and stable political institutions.
Depending on oil has allowed Iraq to offset reliance on public debt, as it reached $ 74 billion in 2017, a moderate amount compared with the country’s troubled last 50 years. But basic services such as health, education and electricity in Iraq are below average, and unemployment is still high, especially among the youth. The violence and challenging working climate have adversely affected the development of the private and financial sectors. Another big issue is the prevalence of corruption as the Berlin-based Transparency International organization, which monitors corruption worldwide, ranks Iraq 12th most corrupt country.
AWC, and its Iraqi members and partners continue to closely monitor IFIs work in Iraq.
AWC activities in Iraq
AWC partnered with “Women and children’s affairs organization” to monitor and analyze the impacts of the World Bank’s $33.6 million emergency response to Covid-19 in Iraq. This amount is a re-allocation of funds under the current Emergency Operation for Development Project. It aims to help Iraq face the Covid-19 challenges.