Iraq Economy


The Republic of Iraq is a West Asian country across the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range. It touches the northern part of the Arabian Desert and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Iraq’s neighboring countries include Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It has a small coastline stretching 58 km (35 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf. Historically, Iraq has been witness to a lot of political, social and economic turbulence. Starting 2003, Iraq operated under a military rule till the time a new Government was elected in 2010. As of January 2010, the country had 112,000 US troops that have been given a deadline of December 31, 2011 to leave the country.

Iraqi Economy Highlights

Traditionally, Iraq’s oil sector has been the major contributor to foreign exchange (up to 95%). The country went through a strong financial crisis in the 1980s, during its eight-year war with Iran. The latter destroyed much of Iraq’s oil reserves resulting in strict measures and enormous international loans. The Iraqi economy lost US$100 billion worth of assets during those turbulent times. It was only in 1988 that peace was restored leading to increase in oil exports. New pipelines were constructed and infrastructure was improved to some extent. The economy once again plunged due to a serious financial crisis and the invasion in Kuwait while repaying war debts. In 2004, 80% of Iraq’s $42 billion debt was written off by the Paris Club of creditor nations. Reconstruction efforts are in place with the help of international aid. 

Iraq's Economic Profile Statistics


GDP (purchasing power parity) fluctuated as follows from 2007 to 2009: 


GDP - real growth rate:

  • 5.8% (2009 est.)

  • 7.8% (2008 est.)

  • 1.5% (2007 est.) 

        GDP - per capita (PPP):

  • $3,300 (2009 est.)

  • $3,200 (2008 est.)

  • $3,100 (2007 est.)


note: data are in 2009 US dollars


Labor force:   8.175 million (2008 est.)


Unemployment rate:   


  • 15.2% (2008 est.)

  • 18% (2006 est.) 

Population below poverty line: 25% NA%


Inflation rate (consumer prices):

  • 3.5% (2009 est.)

  • 2.8% (2008 est.)