The Role of Natural Resources in Kurdistan Regional Government’s Economic Development
The oil and gas industry of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq developed rapidly between 2007 and 2013, described as the “good days” of the Kurdistan Region’s economy. However, the Kurdistan Regional Government has faced a severe economic crisis since 2014, with falling oil prices and disruption to oil production. As a newly oil-exporting region, the flow of revenues derived from oil exports plays an important role in the region’s economic development. This paper addresses three questions: What are the challenges of the resource curse facing oil-exporting countries; how has oil and gas industry development contributed to the improvement of other economic sectors, particularly the agricultural sector in the Kurdistan Region; and what policy recommendations can be made to counter the challenges of the resource curse? We argue that the Kurdistan Region’s economy is over-reliant on revenues from the oil industry and that excess revenues have not been sufficiently and effectively invested in the other crucial economic sectors, such as agriculture, to diversify sources of income.
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