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Jobs in Iraq : A Primer on Job Creation in the Short-Term (English)

Iraq needs a strategy to make rapid progress in tackling its profound jobs challenges. Iraq is facing a jobs crisis of unprecedented proportions. It could foment a resurgence in violence unless the Government of Iraq makes credible and swift progress in job creation and reconstruction. To shape a longer-term vision, Iraq can look beyond its recent history of conflict, and to its past as a diversified economy and home of an educated workforce. However, in the short-term, neither private nor public sector hiring can create jobs at the desired scale without significant new policy action. The first-best solution for large-scale private sector job creation hinges on structural reforms that must begin now, but are achievable only in the medium to longer term. This paper provides a primer on options to deliver large-scale job creation in the short term, based on investments in construction, agriculture and agribusiness, small and medium enterprises, and vocational skills. Its aim is to outline workable steps for progress in a jobs crisis in a post-conflict situation. Because these steps focus on rapid impact at scale, rather than structural reform, they are less-than-ideal or second-best. A similar logic applies to financing options. Financing needs for jobs are large, and while business climate reforms are under way, first-best private investment in jobs will remain limited. Yet, the recent oil price hike offers the Government of Iraq a uniquely timely opportunity to make an investment in jobs that makes a real difference. This paper aims to set the stage for dialogue on job creation in the short-term. The evidence base on jobs in Iraq remains thin. This paper aims to set the stage for dialogue on jobs issues, drawing upon expert interviews in addition to various primary data sources, policy reports, and the background papers prepared for Iraq’s Vision 2030. It flags some analytical questions that urgently need answering. The conclusions presented here will no doubt need to be revisited. The diagnostics, concepts, and financing model were presented and validated at a June 2017 Bank-wide workshop, and discussed in a workshop with the Government of Iraq in December 2017.


  • Author

    Bandiera,Luca, Chandra,Vandana, Fosque,Jasmine Crystal, Von Der Goltz,Jan, Peterburs,Teresa Anna Maria, Piffaretti,Nadia Fernanda, Saba,Joseph P., Wheeler,Collette Mari

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    Working Paper

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  • Region

    Middle East and North Africa,

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  • Doc Name

    Jobs in Iraq : A Primer on Job Creation in the Short-Term

  • Keywords

    Job Creation; small and medium enterprise; Damage and Needs Assessment; Agriculture; access to basic service; private sector job creation; labor force participation rate; average wage of worker; Cost of Doing Business; access to job; support sme; number of jobs; public sector employment; short-term job creation; vocational skill; private sector activity; traditional education system; access to irrigation; opportunity for woman; share of woman; public sector reform; Fast-Moving Consumer Goods; rehabilitation of infrastructure; sum of money; demand for food; national unemployment rate; unskilled job seeker; Internally Displaced Person; lack of finance; maintenance of road; water and electricity; water use efficiency; public sector job; access to finance; inadequate water supply; private sector employment; level of private; local private sector; local hiring requirements; local private enterprises; Private Sector Growth; Construction Building; construction of building; rural labor force; source of income; food security assistance; children attending schools; share of capital; world development indicator; source of food; scarcity of water; irrigation and drainage; source income; agricultural extension worker; balance of payment; refined petroleum product; complete primary education; rural area; agriculture sector; Business Climate; business opportunity; construction material; food processing; Labor Market; construction sector; total employment; land market; unmet demand; job growth; agricultural expansion; business environment; job crisis; light manufacturing; factor share; oil price; educated woman; Higher Education; skill base; regional conflict; employment creation; government arrears; job opportunity; investment climate; job opportunities; job impact; high share; Host Communities; oil revenue; private construction; unpaved road; food system; internal displacement; agricultural land; financing need; private ownership; SME support; home community; building construction; food product; retail trade; Public Employment; private investment; food insecurity; business capacity; enterprise survey; youth population; human capital; irrigation system; construction activities; agricultural production



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)


Bandiera,Luca Chandra,Vandana Fosque,Jasmine Crystal Von Der Goltz,Jan Peterburs,Teresa Anna Maria Piffaretti,Nadia Fernanda Saba,Joseph P. Wheeler,Collette Mari

Jobs in Iraq : A Primer on Job Creation in the Short-Term (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.