Main Crops: wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep

Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Major Industries: Petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing

IIraq's GDP growth slowed to 1.1% in 2017, a marked decline compared to the previous two years as domestic consumption and investment fell because of civil violence and a sluggish oil market. The Iraqi Government received its third tranche of funding from its 2016 Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in August 2017, which is intended to stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Additionally, in late 2017 Iraq received more than $1.4 billion in financing from international lenders, part of which was generated by issuing a $1 billion bond for reconstruction and rehabilitation in areas liberated from ISIL. Investment and key sector diversification are crucial components to Iraq’s long-term economic development and require a strengthened business climate with enhanced legal and regulatory oversight to bolster private-sector engagement. The overall standard of living depends on global oil prices, the central government passage of major policy reforms, a stable security environment post-ISIS, and the resolution of civil discord with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides roughly 85% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings, and is a major determinant of the economy's fortunes. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil exports and revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential.

In 2017, Iraqi oil exports from northern fields were disrupted following a KRG referendum that resulted in the Iraqi Government reasserting federal control over disputed oil fields and energy infrastructure in Kirkuk. The Iraqi government and the KRG dispute the role of federal and regional authorities in the development and export of natural resources. In 2007, the KRG passed an oil law to develop IKR oil and gas reserves independent of the federal government. The KRG has signed about 50 contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its reserves, some of which lie in territories taken by Baghdad in October 2017. The KRG is able to unilaterally export oil from the fields it retains control of through its own pipeline to Turkey, which Baghdad claims is illegal. In the absence of a national hydrocarbons law, the two sides have entered into five provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed.

Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate. The Government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles, including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, skilled labor shortages, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors. Under the Iraqi constitution, some competencies relevant to the overall investment climate are either shared by the federal government and the regions or are devolved entirely to local governments. Investment in the IKR operates within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Investment Law (Law 4 of 2006) and the Kurdistan Board of Investment, which is designed to provide incentives to help economic development in areas under the authority of the KRG.

Inflation has remained under control since 2006. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard-pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country despite a bloated public sector. Overregulation has made it difficult for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Corruption and lack of economic reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector – have inhibited the growth of the private sector .


1990 2000 2010 2020
GNI, Atlas method (current US$) (billions) 123.12 37.5 136.16 188.1
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) 7,070 1,600 4,580 4,680
GNI, PPP (current international $) (billions) 47.15 258.21 382.58 378.23
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) 2,640 10,990 12,860 9,400
GDP (current US$) (billions) 180.41 48.36 138.52 166.76
GDP growth (annual %) 57.8 16.9 6.4 -15.7
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %) 73.6 24.6 16.6 -15.2
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP) 8 5 5 6
Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP) 72 85 56 41
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP) 8 76 39 38
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP) 7 50 34 31
Gross capital formation (% of GDP) 44 29 16 23
Revenue, excluding grants (% of GDP) .. .. .. 38.4
Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP) .. .. .. 2
States and markets
Time required to start a business (days) .. .. 31 27
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP) .. .. .. ..
Tax revenue (% of GDP) .. .. .. 1.3
Military expenditure (% of GDP) .. .. 2.7 4.1
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) 0 0 78.2 93.2
Individuals using the Internet (% of population) 0 0.1 2.5 60
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports) .. .. .. ..
Statistical Capacity Score (Overall Average) (scale 0 - 100) .. .. 41 37
Global links
Merchandise trade (% of GDP) 9 69 70 52
Net barter terms of trade index (2000 = 100) .. 100 191 96
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) (millions) .. .. .. ..
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and primary income) .. .. .. ..
Net migration (thousands) -154 -266 1,304 39
Personal remittances, received (current US$) (millions) .. .. 177 644
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) (millions) -7 0 1,396 -3,147
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions) 63.1 101.8 2,178.30 2,211.90