On June 29 and 30, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) convened more than 300 business and public sector representatives for its inaugural Access to Finance Conference in Baghdad. The two-day event provided a shared platform for diverse stakeholders to create opportunities for Iraqi businesses to secure funding and boost economic growth in Iraq. As part of the conference, USAID announced more than $1 million in targeted assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Iraq, as well as the establishment of a public-private partnership to build Iraq’s first large-scale industrial gasses separation plant, an eight-figure investment made possible through USAID support.
This conference brought together financial institutions, business leaders, and investors from Iraq alongside Government of Iraq and U.S. government officials to exchange candid views on ways to overcome challenges to unlock financing opportunities and enable Iraqi businesses to secure funding. Among the dignitaries present were U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Alina L. Romanowski and USAID Mission Director John Cardenas. Students from the Baghdad Business School and the American University of Iraq – Baghdad also attended the event to learn from private sector thought leaders.
In her remarks, Ambassador Romanowski said, “Unlocking financing opportunities will help aspiring entrepreneurs get the support they need to transform their dreams into a reality. It will help startups scale up, and boost the capacity of established businesses to dream bigger, expand their businesses, and help grow the Iraqi economy.”
This conference builds on the United States’ longstanding commitment to supporting the development of a robust private sector in Iraq, built on the principles of transparency, opportunity, and innovation.
Over the last 18 months, USAID has attracted more than $40 million in private investments to expand economic growth and promote greater prosperity across Iraq.