Dutch, Kurdish prime ministers discuss investing in Kurdistan

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani “invited Dutch companies to invest in Kurdistan, as the KRG continues with its plans to modernise the region's economy.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The prime ministers of the Kurdistan Region and the Netherlands, Masrour Barzani and Mark Rutte, respectively, met at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday to discuss “ways to strengthen economic and business ties” between Erbil and Amsterdam, a statement from Barzani’s office said.

Prime Minister Barzani “invited Dutch companies to invest in Kurdistan, as the KRG continues with its plans to modernize the region’s economy.” Prime Minister Rutte, in turn, expressed Dutch companies’ “enthusiasm for investing in multiple sectors of the Kurdistan Region’s economy.”

As part of its development agenda, the Kurdish prime minister’s cabinet has laid out a scheme to diversify the region’s economy, reducing reliance on oil and gas, and investing in industrial, tourism, and agricultural sectors. Erbil also seeks to attract foreign investors.

“The agricultural sector will be one of our main priorities, as we will introduce new methods, advanced machinery, and expand knowledge of scientific methods in order to improve quality across the sector,” an outline of the cabinet’s agenda reads on the government’s website.

Related Article: Netherlands will continue support for a ‘stronger’ Kurdistan Region

In meeting with top Kurdish officials, Dutch diplomats have expressed their country’s readiness to invest in the Kurdistan Region economy, with a focus on the agricultural sector.

In mid-2018, the Netherlands revealed plans to share their expertise in agricultural and water management practices with several Middle Eastern governments, including the Kurdistan Region.

Related Article: Top Kurdistan officials discuss Erbil-Baghdad ties, economic growth with Dutch Ambassador

The Netherlands is also part of the international anti-ISIS coalition, with about 60 military personnel training and advising Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi soldiers as part of the mission to root out the terrorist organization’s sleeper cells.

Amsterdam’s mission struck a brief pause earlier this year as tensions spiked after the US assassination of top Iranian General Qasim Soleimani on Jan. 3. The Netherlands, however, announced weeks later that its training campaign would “resume as soon as possible.”

Related Article: Dutch to resume training of Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani at Munich Security Conference: