Promoting the private sector – investment and jobs create new prospects

Project description

Title: Privat sector development and employment promotion/ economic (re-)integration of young people
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Iraq
Lead executing agency: Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Economic Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Planning
Overall term: 2017 to 2021

Man cuts sheet metal with scissors, in the background is a conversation and a GIZ flag on a construction site


In the aftermath of the war, Iraq is facing major challenges. In large parts of the country, infrastructure has been badly affected. Administrative structures have not yet been rebuilt. At the same time, the country is about to undergo a transformation from a state-socialist to a market-oriented economic and social order. 

The public sector is heavily subsidised and is the largest employer in the country. Outside the oil industry, the private sector has created very few jobs and can contribute little to Iraq’s economic performance. The conflicts of recent years have left additional traces in the education system. The range and quality of initial and continuing vocational training does not meet the requirements of the labour market. This makes it more difficult for young people in particular to enter the working world. The unemployment rate is especially high among young people and is exacerbated by sustained population growth. This situation is intensified by the large number of returning refugees, internally displaced people and migrants, who also need economic prospects.


The Iraqi Government promotes private sector development with innovative strategies and measures that are adapted to the needs of the market. Young people in Iraq have access to the labour market and can earn their own living.


The project supports the Iraqi Government in developing economic reforms and creating investment incentives. It is in close contact with political partners, civil society groups and the private sector. 

The reforms are based on restructured processes for policy development and empirical data provided by economic research networks and other actors. This enables the government to make economic policy decisions based on facts. The aim is to simplify investment regulations and make them more transparent, which will protect against corruption. In addition, business start-ups are needed to promote the expansion of the private sector. The project supports the Iraqi Government in simplifying regulations and giving entrepreneurs access to finance. In cooperation with universities, the project organises start-up competitions that support students in taking the first steps in setting up their own business.

The project also cooperates with training institutions to develop labour market-oriented qualifications. Further training and assistance in finding internships and jobs are combined to help young people enter the job market. The measures focus in particular on women and returnees. The project also works in part with international companies to develop and implement the courses. The aim is to ensure that the training courses are perfectly tailored to employers’ needs and prepare participants properly for their future roles.

To create more jobs in the private sector, the project works closely with local chambers and industry associations. The goal is to develop advisory services on topics such as accounting, marketing and loan administration that are aimed specifically at small and medium-sized enterprises. These advisory services can help companies improve and expand their business activities, thereby creating new jobs. In sectors with particularly strong growth potential – for example solar energy or waste processing – the project supports companies in launching innovative products and services on the market. This enables companies to open up new business areas while at the same time providing new jobs in these sectors.


  • Almost 1,000 new jobs have already been created. 
  • More than 8,000 young people and returnees have received support in entering the labour market. Alongside opportunities to obtain vocational qualifications and take part in further training, this also involved assistance in finding internships and help in setting up new businesses. 
  • Over 800 students have participated in start-up competitions. In addition, 850 young people have taken advantage of advisory services on setting up a business. More than 40 per cent of them were women.
  • The chamber of industry in Basra has established a business network with 70 entrepreneurs in the solar industry. The most promising companies receive targeted technical and business training with the support of the project. This helps them grow their business.


Further Information