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Market update: Facts about Iraq at a glance

Economic data Iraq


  • 46 million (2023)
  • 58% younger than 25
  • Expected population by 2050: 71 million


  • one of the three most populous countries in the Arab world, after Egypt and on an equal footing with Algeria
  • ranks fourth globally of countries with the most natural resources
  • large deposits of crude oil, natural gas, phosphates and sulphur
  • economy based on the export of its natural resources and on agriculture

Currency reserves without gold (billion US$):

  • 2020: 59
  • 2021: 64
  • 2022: 103*


  • public investment programs improve infrastructure and offer chances for supply
  • oil and gas production to be enlarged
  • funding of large-scale projects state guaranteed
  • considerable market for capital and consumer goods
  • financial strength, young population


  • agrarian:  wheat,  barley,  rice,  vegetables, dates, cotton, cattle, sheep,  poultry
  • mineral: crude oil, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur

Iraq again generates continuously high trade surpluses

Foreign trade
Billion US$

Billion US$

General information Iraq

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates (provinces) and one autonomous region (Iraqi Kurdistan). The country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a very rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in pre-Islamic times and is known for its poets. Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets.

Iraq in the 20th and 21st century

Modern Iraq dates back to 1920, when the British Mandate for Mesopotamia, joining three Ottoman vilayets, was created under the authority of the League of Nations.

A British-backed Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown, and the Iraqi Republic created.

Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005. The US presence in Iraq ended in 2011.

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state, the prime minister is the head of government, and the constitution provides for two deliberative bodies, the Council of Representatives and the Council of Union. The judiciary is free and independent of the executive and the legislature.

Iraq is considered an emerging middle power with a strategic location and a founding member of the United Nations, the OPEC as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF. Since its independence, Iraq's political history has been characterized by periods of significant economic and military growth, as well as periods of political and economic instability.

Market place Iraq

Iraq is characterised by great cultural, political and economic diversity, which can make an economic commitment in Iraq attractive and profitable. Iraq is essentially divided into the central Iraq with the capital Baghdad with its approximately 8 million inhabitants and the northern Iraqi autonomous region Kurdistan with the capital Erbil (860,000 inhabitants). Iraq is best known for its abundance of natural resources, especially oil exports.

At present, the Iraqi government is trying to lead its own economy away from its great dependence on oil and to do the same as the "pioneering nations" of the Gulf region in terms of diversification. At the same time, however, oil production is also to be expanded. In the areas of transport, IT and energy infrastructure as well as the oil and gas industry, there has been enormous interest in modernisation for many years.

International exporting companies can benefit from the current situation and demand in Iraq by entering and developing this growth market early and ahead of others

Source: German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq

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