ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The fourth Rwanga–Foras International Job fair in Erbil kicked off on Monday with over 150 local and foreign companies present with the stated aim of providing over 1,700 jobs for young people in the Kurdistan Region.
The two-day event is held at theErbil International Fair hall of Sami Abdul Rahman Park, with Kurdistan 24 as the official media sponsor.
According to a statement issued by the organizers of the event, 166 local, Arab, and foreign companies are participating in the exhibition, including South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, UAE, Switzerland, America, and Canada, as well as Iraq.
President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani cut the fair’s ribbon and delivered a speech in which he said the Kurdistan Region’s economy would witness recovery in the near future after a trying number of years and a financial crisis.
Dealing by multiple crises, especially from 2014 onward, the KRG’s finances became increasingly strained when the Islamic State overran a large part of northern Iraq, and relations with Baghdad deteriorated, reaching a near-breaking point in late 2017, when Iraqi troops and militias took over disputed areas in response to the region’s independence referendum.
Issues such as the central government cutting the region’s share of the national budget, the influx of over two million displaced people and refugees to the region, and the fight against the Islamic State severely stretched the region’s finances and led to lowered household incomes and high unemployment rates.
With the formation of a new Iraqi government, headed by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, relations between Baghdad and Erbil have seen significant improvements with the former now delivering the owed monthly salaries of public employees in the region.
“The Kurdistan Region is living in a new stage now and heading towards a better future,” Barzani said. “I am certain that the economic situation will improve, the market will flourish, and job opportunities will increase for the youth.”
“The experience of advanced countries has shown that providing work is not the responsibility of the government alone and the public sector cannot employ every university and college graduate,” he added. “The public sector, the private sector, and civil society can work together and coordinate to maximize work opportunities.”
“These three sectors must cooperate and coordinate better in the Kurdistan Region.” Barzani also urged young people, especially recent graduates, to seize any opportunity available to them to accrue experience in the job market, which could lead to improved career prospects.
“Long journeys begin with a single step,” Barzani said.
Editing by Nadia Riva