A senior US official from the state department visited Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil on Thursday, ensuring that Washington will encourage American companies to invest in the Region through a government-funded institution.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Jennifer Gavito told Barzani that they will “encourage US investment in the Kurdistan Region, especially through DFC which provides financial support to investment projects,” referring to US government-funded Development Finance Corporation, according to a readout from Barzani’s office.
DFC invests in development projects around the world, especially in developing countries in the Middle East.
Gavito announced earlier in the day $670,000 in additional funding to complete the restoration of a historic Hammam in Erbil citadel as well as creating an educational center for children there. “With this additional funding, the U.S. government’s contribution for the restoration of the Erbil Citadel totals more than $1.5 million,” US consulate in Erbil said in a statement.
Erbil’s citadel dates back to 4,000 years BC. It sits on a 110,000 square meter-circle at the heart of the Kurdistan Region capital, overlooking Shar Square and the central bazaar. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals with a souvenir shop, textile and geology museum.
Gavito, who assumed her current position in August, “reaffirmed the US commitment to continue supporting Peshmerga Ministry reforms and the reorganization of forces, and said that the US can also become a supporter and partner of the Kurdistan Region in other areas like security, energy, economy, culture, and education,” according to the readout.
President Barzani thanked the US for its ongoing support to the Kurdistan Region and “reaffirmed the Kurdistan Region’s willingness to boost relations with the US as well as improving cooperation,” his office quoted him as saying. Barzani added that they will provide more opportunities for US investment.
Current US investment in the Kurdistan Region is comparatively low. American companies currently operating mostly work in oil, construction and security.
Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in November 2020 that his government “supports high quality foreign investment in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, particularly from the United States.”
“During this cabinet, more than 70 licenses have been awarded with an investment value of almost 2 billion dollars,” added Barzani who was sworn in as PM in July 2019.