Baghdad – The Iraqi Planning ministry stated on Saturday that the rate of economic growth will reach according to the strategic plan of the ministry to 47% by 2014.

Abdul Zahra al-hindawi, the spokesman of the ministry told AKnews that the annual economic growth rate reach to 9.38%, and the improvement will have a positive impact on the economic situation in the country and the level of general income of the Iraqi people.

“The value of the implementation of strategic projects is estimated by $ 186 billion, and the allocations of the public budget should be $ 100 billion, while the remaining $ 86 billion will be spent on local and foreign investment projects.”

“Iraq is heading towards economic stability after the security situation improved relatively in many Iraqi provinces.”

The International Monetary Fund stated earlier that the economic growth in Iraq was slower than expected during 2010 in the economic review of the fund, because the expected growth in oil production was not achieved.

The Iraqi Central Bank (ICB) described earlier the rates of economic growth in 2010 as “shameful” compared with past years.

The ICB revealed last October that the 2011 budget will raise the economic growth by 10%.

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Analysts worldwide have revised growth prospects for most developed and emerging markets. In the post-crisis world, decoupling will intensify, regionally and globally. Inflation and higher interest rates will be inevitable, while in the GCC, the foundations for a sustainable knowledge economy are just being put in place.
Prospects are good for the Middle East next year.
According to Gary Dugan, chief investment officer, private banking, Emirates NBD, 2011 will be characterised by “good growth but ongoing challenges” – and this short prognosis hits the nerve of what the GCC region can expect in the year ahead. Meanwhile, decoupling will remain the hot topic in 2011.
The core European countries Germany, France and the Netherlands are expected to post stronger growth while the ‘Club Med’, meaning Spain, Greece, and Portugal, will continue to struggle with record high debt. “Global growth is strong enough to support a good rally in risk markets such as equities”, says Dugan. “However ongoing problems in Europe and missile testing in Korea are all restraining the rally. We believe that the markets will eventually overcome the problems. However, the structural challenges of indebted countries in Europe, the weakness of the financial sector, and the malaise of the US housing market remain challenges to long term returns.”
For Dr Nasser Saïdi, chief economist of the DIFC Authority and head of external relations at the financial centre, the change of roles is too visible: “Paradoxically the countries (primarily US, UK) portrayed as the great beneficiaries of globalisation have been the main losers, while (at least so far) the largest relative gains (economically and politically) have been enjoyed by China and other emerging markets which were expected to be the targets of the globalisation.”
Decoupling seen globally
According to Dr Saïdi, decoupling is seen not only in Europe, but globally: “In 1999, the US represented 46% of the value of world equity market capitalisation, whereas emerging market economies represented a mere 8%. In 2010, the US represents 31% of global market capitalisation, pretty much the same share as emerging economies, which stands at 30% (according to S&P)”, he said in December. Arnaud de Bresson, managing director, of the Paris-EUROPLACE initiative to promote France’s capital as a financial centre told AMEinfo.com that despite the ongoing Euro-crisis, France did not lose its credibility among global investors, and on top of that, the French regulator AMF paved way for Paris to become the second Islamic Finance-hub in Europe after London. “With 30% of the world’s government bonds outstanding of $2.34 trillion, the Fifth Republic is still globally number two after the United States”, Bresson said. Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed France’s AAA-Rating, the highest possible investment grade level, during the same month.
For the GCC, Europe and East Asia are equally important as trade partners and likewise as sources for travel and tourism. But emerging markets increasingly outpace Western developed countries. “The D10 (BRIC, Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, South Africa and Saudi Arabia), now represent some 35% of world output and have about 25% of world exports”, Dr. Saïdi explains. As China already took over as the largest consumer of power in 2010, the GCC is eager to strengthen ties with Beijing. China’s economy needs oil, gas and petrochemical products from the Gulf Arab region. The six member states of the GCC aim to lure investments as a result.

 

At the beginning of this year, Iraq’s fragile new political order faced a momentous challenge. The country needed to hold credible democratic elections at a time when its army was still battling al-Qaeda and other domestic insurgents. The winners had to form a government in spite of deep rifts among leaders and sects, who just three years ago were fighting a civil war. And all this had to happen even as the United States reduced its troops from 150,000 to 50,000 and ended combat operations for those who remained.

The result was a long, painful, contentious, confusing and sometimes bloody year. But when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki presented his new government to parliament on Tuesday, Iraq could fairly be said to have passed a major test. It is not yet the peaceful Arab democracy and force for good in the Middle East that President George W. Bush imagined when he decided on invasion eight years ago. But in the past 12 months it has taken some big steps in the right direction.

First was the election, which was judged free and fair – a rare event in the Middle East and a big contrast with recent balloting in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. The result was a tricky deadlock, in which no party held a majority in parliament and the winner of the most votes, a Sunni coalition, had no realistic chance to form a government. Iraq’s neighbors, whose rulers have little understanding or respect for democratic processes, lined up behind competing favorites even as al-Qaeda tried to trigger another civil war.

Somehow, the country’s oft-maligned leaders worked their way through all this, with help from the Obama administration. The coalition Mr. Maliki presented Tuesday was led by Shiite parties but handed major positions to Sunnis and Kurds. Sunnis serve or will be named as deputy prime minister, defense minister and speaker of parliament. Measures to integrate former Sunni militiamen into the security forces or other government jobs have finally been implemented. Fears that Mr. Maliki will establish a dictatorship look, at least for now, to be exaggerated.

Violence, meanwhile, has dwindled to the lowest level Iraq probably has known in decades. In September 2006 the Web site iCasualties. org recorded more than 3,300 civilian deaths from violence; this month so far it has counted 62, making Iraq a far safer country than Mexico. The economy is nearing a tipping point: Foreign oil companies are refurbishing the fields of southern Iraq, and the city of Basra, a militia-ruled jungle four years ago, is beginning to boom.

It’s still too early to draw conclusions about Iraq, though many opponents of the war did so long ago. Mr. Maliki’s government could easily go wrong; the coming year, which could end with the withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops, will likely be just as challenging as this one. But the country’s political class has repeatedly chosen democracy over dictatorship and accommodation over violence. If that keeps up, a rough version of Mr. Bush’s dream may yet come true.

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