Kurdistan Regional Government


Prime Minister's speech at Rotana Hotel cornerstone laying ceremony

Ladies, gentlemen and distinguished guests. Good Afternoon. I am delighted to welcome you all here today.

I would like to welcome all the guests from inside and outside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, especially our distinguished guests:

Joseph Sarkis, Lebanon’s Minister for Tourism,
Jacques Sarraf, President of Malia Group Holdings
Selim al-Zyr, President and CEO of Rotana Hotels
Andrea Dini, CEO Dama and Diva Companies

I am pleased to be with you here today for the ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the new Rotana Hotel in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

This project is another achievement of joint cooperation between the private sector and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). It sends yet another message that, as part of the international community, we are ready to benefit from all opportunities that will bring prosperity and well being to our people, and to be part of the economic, commercial and industrial progress of the world.

Today, we are experiencing tremendous growth – some call it a ‘boom’ – in the real estate and commercial development markets in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. We warmly welcome this most recent addition, which is another step in our ongoing reconstruction process. I would like to welcome the Emirate Rotana Hotel Company and Malia Holdings from Lebanon to the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

This investment that comes out of the cooperation between Rotana Hotels and Malia Holdings is very positive for the Kurdistan Region, because it shows that our region has succeeded in building confidence with foreign and local investors and companies.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s policy is to support foreign investors, to make it easy for them to come and invest in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq within the framework of our laws. The building of this hotel is a result of collaboration between the Kurdistan Investment Board and the partnership of Malia Holdings and Rotana Hotels.

We, as the government of the Kurdistan Region, give priority to the promises announced in our policy. We will continue in our efforts to improve standards of living and securing the civil and social needs of the people. While we have already achieved significant steps in this regard, more progress is needed.

Over the past several years, the KRG, along with the people of the Kurdistan Region, have made great strides in protecting ourselves from the violence and bloodshed that has plagued other parts of Iraq. Unfortunately the circumstances outside our region are still troublesome, and we will continue to share our positive and hopeful experiences to offer an example for the rest of Iraq to follow.

With established stability, we have worked diligently to create an industrious commercial and investment atmosphere. In line with this goal, we aim to attract world class companies to invest here, and to use the Kurdistan Region as a gateway to all of Iraq.

We want the simultaneous development of all the sectors within our region. The rehabilitation of tourism is no less important than the economic, trade, or industry sectors. Tourism is a key sector in the economic development of our country, and we are blessed with an advantageous environment for this sector to develop.

Our region is also blessed with great natural and human resources. Accordingly, all of our development policies are directed at using these resources to encourage economic prosperity and to further develop the human capacity of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

We are very happy to see the fruit of our continuous efforts coming to be. We now see foreign investors and companies coming to participate in the development of the commercial sectors and starting investment activities in our region.

Direct foreign investment remains one of the most important features of the Kurdistan Region's economic development strategy. We believe that foreign investment is performing a very important function and is most necessary for the development of our economy.

All foreign investment brings the following benefits:

First, it brings needed development capital to our region.

Second, foreign investment sends a signal to the world that the Kurdistan Region is open for business and that it can serve as a gateway to the rest of Iraq.

Third, foreign investment brings our region human, technical, and financial expertise that makes us more prepared for the future.

And lastly, interest from foreign investors is a continued indication that our region of Iraq is both safe and secure and that valuable opportunities for international investment exist here.

We all know that international companies watch each other for signs of potential investment opportunities; therefore any new project starting here can mean an expected increase in the amount of interest and planned projects for the future.

Such projects bring us great opportunities to learn new skills. We will familiarise ourselves with new experiences, especially in the field of international commerce. Additionally, this step will bring forth employment opportunities to the people of the Kurdistan Region.

The Rotana Hotel Erbil is scheduled to be completed in December next year. It will not only create luxury accommodation for our guests and visitors, but it will also produce many new jobs for the local workforce.

We are grateful that the owners and directors of the project have shown a committed for capacity building. Their plan calls for training local labour to work alongside international managers and staff.

Here I would like to thank the investors, business developers and workers who are making this project possible. We appreciate the confidence you have placed with us, and we reassure you that as the Kurdistan Regional Government, we pledge our support in helping to make the Rotana project a great success.

We are pleased that next to Turkey, Lebanon has become the second largest source of foreign investors within the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Your participation is a statement of your support for our efforts to fully develop the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq.

With your participation, you bring experience, expertise and new business models to our region. Lebanon as a country with extensive experience in development, as it has passed through different stages of its history. We hope current efforts in Lebanon can establish lasting security and stability so that Lebanon will retain its active place in the world.

Lebanon is an example of a civilised and capable society in the Middle East, and cooperation with Lebanon will result in benefits for all. We hope that future opportunities will bring more talent and finance to the markets of the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq.

As a major private sector project within the Kurdistan Region, today’ Rotana Hotel cornerstone-laying ceremony clearly shows the welcoming environment for investment and business ventures. We assure all investors and local contractors that the Kurdistan Regional Government continues to support the private sector in the implementation of all strategic and important projects.

The KRG continues to act in accordance with the powers vested in the Region by Iraq's Constitution. Simultaneously, the same constitution states the Kurdistan Region, as a part of a federal Iraq, must share in the benefits of all the human and natural resources of the entire country.

The KRG supports all serious interest in investment within our region. The establishment of the Investment Board and the passing of the region's Investment Law demonstrate to the world that we are strongly committed to our economic policy of development and growth within Iraq.

We are dedicated to following a sound economic policy and strongly believe in the capability of the private sector. The Kurdistan Region is open for business. We hope other investment companies from Lebanon, and other countries in the Gulf, will soon come to this region and take advantage of the real opportunities present here. This would be the greatest possible support for the political and reconstruction process throughout Iraq.

There are great opportunities in the agricultural, industrial, tourism and infrastructure sectors, as well as in financial and banking services. These are all examples of sectors within the Kurdistan Region that are welcoming investment efforts.

Your contribution to the Kurdistan Region supports our continued stability and security, and helps us rebuild our country. Your partnership demonstrates a message of friendship and a commitment to a long-term relationship which will bring great benefits to everyone involved.

Here I would like to thank you again for the initiation and construction of this project within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. I commend your efforts and look forward to returning here next year for the grand opening of what will be a magnificent hotel.