Culture

10 things to know about the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

1. Safety

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is one of the safest places in the Middle East. There is minimal risk from crime, and tourists can move around in safety.

2. Parliamentary Democracy

The KRI is a parliamentary democracy. Its first Parliamentary elections were held in May 1992. Elections are conducted freely and fairly in the KRI.

3.Forging Ties Globally 

Kurdistan maintains a dynamic foreign policy based on developing good relations globally. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has improved its ties with foreign capitals throughout the world since 2007. The KRG has 14 Representations around the world and there are currently 39 foreign diplomatic mission in the KRI.

4. Religious Tolerance

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is home to considerable religious and ethnic diversity. Kurdistan has provided a safe haven for minorities fleeing violence in the rest of the region. There are seven major religious groups in the KRI: Muslims, Christians, Yezidi, Jews, Sabie Mandani, Zoroastrians and Bahais. All religious groups live together peacefully and enjoy robust religious freedoms in Kurdistan.

5. Abundant Natural Resources

So far, a total of 57 oil and gas fields have been discovered in the KRI, representing an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil reserves and 5.7 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves.

6. Human Capital

The population of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is young, with approximately 50% of all residents under the age of 21. The Region had a total of 26 universities in 2019. Nineteen new universities have been founded in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in the last 15 years. This confirms the KRG’s commitment to reinforcing its human capital.

7. Digital Transformation

The KRG is creating a digital “one-stop-shop” to ensure business owners can quickly get the support and advice they need to thrive. New digital services and reduced bureaucracy are at the heart of the KRG’s policy agenda.

8. Tourism Potential

Kurdistan has an untapped wealth of potential in archeological tourism. The Region has over one thousand known archaeological sites. Kurdistan has witnessed an explosion in archeological research since 2010. The KRI’s capital of Erbil is the world’s longest-inhabited city. The historic Erbil Citadel, the core of the city, has been continuously inhabited since at least 6000 BCE. 

9. Women on the Frontlines

Women are increasingly involved in Kurdistan’s decision making in a number of sectors, including education, business and politics. A legal minimum quota is in place to ensure that women hold at least 30% of the seats in Parliament.

10. Investment

Between 2007 and 2019, capital investment in licensed projects in the KRI surpassed $50.6 billion. The number of companies increased from 17,348 in 2013 to 27,290 in 2019 in the KRI.

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