Locally Driven Private Sector Reform and Reconstruction

Iraq needs a robust private sector to drive economic recovery in the areas liberated from ISIS and to strengthen Iraq’s democracy in the face of existential threats. CIPE is leveraging its unique experience cultivating coalitions with reform-oriented leaders at the provincial and national-level to establish diverse, private-sector-led economic recovery teams that will develop and execute grassroots-level reconstruction plans for Anbar, Nineveh, and Salahaddin provinces.

CIPE has worked with private sector actors in Iraq since 2003 to help consolidate their voice, build the capacity of the private sector community, and develop reforms that promote a more conducive environment for economic reform. Through CIPE’s multi-lateral work, the organization has built a strong cohesive foundation at the local and provincial level, which in-turn has informed and impacted national-level policy and decision-making. Through local partnerships with private sector actors in eight Iraqi provinces and the Kurdistan region, CIPE has mobilized constituencies into inclusive provincial-level coalitions that promote reform through ongoing engagement with public sector officials and government leaders. For example, local private sector leaders published a Kurdish Business Agenda (KBA), from which the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) made progressive policy reforms in the agricultural, tourism, and housing sectors. In Maysan, the provincial business agenda (PBA) efforts led to UNESCO naming the Iraqi marshlands as a world heritage site, protecting the marshes and helping to cultivate agricultural prosperity in Southern Iraq.

CIPE local partners compiled these recommendations in a comprehensive CIPE PBA Review presented at the national-level. CIPE long-term partner the Iraqi Businessmen’s Union (IBMU) synthesizes these grassroots-developed recommendations into countrywide challenges and coordinates with federal government leaders to enact national-level change. By applying its success with the PBA model, CIPE will help the private sector in Iraq lead the way to economic stability and democratic governance. Grassroots-level networks and strong leaders are vital in protecting Iraq’s fragile democracy and facilitating economic recovery in the post-ISIS era.