Transforming the future of the Iraqi Business Environment

Project description

Title: COVID 19 Adaptation and Recovery Pilot (CARP): Supporting Firms’ Resilience, Access to Finance and Growth in Iraq
Commissioned by: The World Bank Group
Country: Iraq
Financed by: Iraq Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Fund (I3RF); Implemented by: GIZ International Services and the Iraqi Ministry of Finance
Overall term: 2021 to 2023

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The outbreak of COVID-19 in Iraq has not only strained the country’s health system but also its private sector. With mobility restrictions, liquidity pressures and uncertainty, the country’s private sector – particularly unbanked informal and small formal firms – has faced devastating hurdles in its objective of securing livelihoods. By building capabilities of firms in the field of tech adoption, digitalisation and providing access to liquidity, CARP aims at supporting the Iraqi private sector eco-system to become more resilient and adaptive after the pandemic.


COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Pilot (CARP) is a development cooperation initiative financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank Group) and is implemented by GIZ on behalf of the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. CARP aims at supporting the resilience of viable micro small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the sustainability of their intermediaries through capacity enhancement and access to finance in Iraq.

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How CARP operates:

CARP is directly supporting the Central Bank of Iraq to strengthen the institutional framework of the microfinance sector, while working directly with Micro-Finance Institutions, MSMEs and start-ups.

CARP´s approach tackles the immediate recovery of the private sector and leverages Iraqi MSMEs by focusing on the added value that can be brought to enterprises through digitalisation. In doing so, CARP aims at laying the foundations for a much larger growth programme based on financial inclusion and SME-support measures.

What CARP does:

CARP works hand in hand with national stakeholders of the Iraqi private sector and offers a twofold approach:

1. Financial Inclusion: Supporting immediate relief of the microfinance sector in Iraq, including the most affected small business owners by providing:

  • Liquidity support to microfinance institutions (MFIs);
  • Technical assistance to support the Central Bank of Iraq’s institutional infrastructure to develop non-bank financial institutions.

2. MSME-Support Measures:

  • Supporting Iraqi MSMEs to enhance their capabilities, focusing on digitalisation and resilience through blended learning methods, and financial aid in the form of vouchers and matching grants;
  • Developing a grant ecosystem to catalyse private investment into Iraqi start-ups.

Last update: September 2022

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Additional information