Iraq continues to emerge from years of conflict and instability as it further entrenches inclusive democratic practices and strengthens its governing institutions. While Iraq is predicted to have one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world over the next few years, it still must confront the challenge of localized internal instability, generating broad-based prosperity and the diversification of its economy.
Since March 2003, USAID has implemented activities designed to strengthen infrastructure, stabilize communities, foster economic and agricultural growth, and help national, local, and provincial governments better represent and respond to the needs of their people. USAID helps Iraqis use their own resources to build a self-reliant and prosperous country.
Governing Justly and Democratically
U.S. assistance supports democratic governance by promoting citizen involvement in fulfilling local development needs. USAID helps establish community action groups, training more than 4,770 people since 2008 to identify and prioritize what they believe to be their communities’ most pressing needs. USAID also has worked with Iraqi provincial governments to help them plan development strategies and improve local governance. Fulfilling a need expressed by Iraqi local governments, USAID trained more than 7,000 Iraqi officials since 2009 in such areas as strategic planning, budgeting, urban planning and incorporating the needs of women in public policies.
At the national level, USAID works with key ministries to bolster the expertise of civil servants, assisting in conducting their own capacity building activities. USAID assistance to build the capacity of Iraqi government institutions is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by those institutions. To date, USAID has trained more than 105,000 civil servants, with the Iraqi government now funding the majority of courses on its own.
USAID continues to work with Iraqi civil society organizations to strengthen their ability to engage the government and advocate on behalf of their beneficiaries. USAID also works to ensure access to justice for Iraq’s vulnerable and disadvantaged populations through a program that helps Iraqis learn their rights, gain access to legal aid, and know which institutions are responsible for protecting their rights. Assistance to Iraq’s Elections Commission has helped it independently administer nine elections since 2005.
Economic Growth: Integration With The Global Economy
To encourage private sector development, USAID supported small business development centers that provide Iraqi entrepreneurs with training and referrals to USAID-supported microfinance institutions, which have disbursed over $1 billion in microloans in the country’s 18 provinces. In addition, USAID helped establish the Iraqi Company for Bank Guarantees, which rewards private bank lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Sixteen member banks approved and disbursed more than 2,130 loan guarantees totaling $28 million. USAID is developing the financial sector’s infrastructure and is helping establish a credit bureau, training institute, payments system, and centralized data repository.
USAID helped to enhance the competitiveness of Iraqi agribusinesses, develop agricultural markets, improve livelihoods and energize Iraq's largest source of employment and second-largest value sector. Current assistance to the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture will help it to identify reforms that will improve the agriculture sector as well strengthen its extension service.
Investing in People: Improving Health
The Primary Health Care Project, designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will improve primary health care services by strengthening the management and delivery of services, mentoring practitioners and fostering community participation. Currently, USAID is working with the Ministry to improve services at selected primary care clinics, which the Ministry will then replicate in the rest of Iraq’s primary care clinics.
Last updated: January 22, 2014
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