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Iraq

An improving security environment and foreign investment are helping to spur economic activity in Iraq. most notably in the Oil and Gas and Islamic Finance sectors.

Accordingly, massive reconstruction projects have been taking place to ensure that the country’s infrastructure and economy are redeveloped.

2013 saw the opening of and the incorporation of an array of new financial institutions in Iraq that aim to provide Islamic financing. Additionally, a number of banking institutions in Iraq began expanding the range of services offered to include many Islamic finance services that are Shari'a compliant. Furthermore, and due to the high demand for financing and the potential high growth of the city of Erbil from individuals and businesses, certain banks have selected Erbil as the target for their first international branches that provide interest-free financing.

As Iraq is still recovering from the economic downturn which resulted from years of war, we are seeing increased initiative from the Iraqi legislators in relation to the drafting, development and implementation of new laws and regulations that aim at reforming the operations and licensing of regular and Islamic banks in Iraq. This is seen through the expansion of a number of high profile banks who have recently been able to register and obtain the necessary licenses to operate in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.