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Kurdistan

Premier Barzani: ‘Downtown Erbil’ a ‘Milestone’ for Kurdistan

By Armando Cordoba 28/10/2013
“This project will be a source of pride and a source of income for thousands of families,” Prime Minister Barzani said at a commencement ceremony
“This project will be a source of pride and a source of income for thousands of families,” Prime Minister Barzani said at a commencement ceremony

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani kicked off the nearly $3 billion “Downtown Erbil” project on Sunday, calling the venture that is estimated to create 35,000 jobs and transform the face of the Kurdish capital, “a milestone for the Kurdistan Region.”

“This project will be a source of pride and a source of income for thousands of families,” Barzani said at a commencement ceremony with Mohamed Alabbar, head of Dubai’s Emaar Properties, which is leading the project and hopes to finish it in around five years.

Barzani said that the 133-acre “Downtown Erbil” -- which envisions the capital’s largest shopping mall, five-star hotels, apartment towers, schools and healthcare facilities -- “is a milestone for the Kurdistan Region.”

He added that the development marks a turn in Kurdistan, a three-province autonomous Kurdish enclave of five million in northern Iraq whose economy is booming and which posted a whopping 12-percent economic growth last year.

“Downtown Erbil will be a true hub for business and tourism in Erbil,” Alabbar told a gathering of government ministers, foreign diplomats, Erbil governor Nawzad Hadi and many businessmen attending the inauguration ceremony.

“It will touch around $3 billion,” Alabbar said about the cost of the development.

Asked about luxury developments like Downtown Erbil that have been cited by many Kurds as a major source of inflation and high living costs that make them unaffordable to the average Kurd, Alabbar said that was nothing new.

“Show me a project in Los Angeles, Singapore or New York that hasn’t done that,” he said, adding that cooperation by the Kurdistan government would ensure that the development’s overall impact remains positive.

Barzani, meanwhile, added that the percentage of people living below the poverty line in Kurdistan had dropped from 5 percent in May to 3.7 percent presently, citing research done by the United Nations and the US-based Rand Corporation.

“We need to make the country into a new Region and can achieve this with the support of all Kurds working as a team,” Barzani said, especially emphasizing the need for the youth to take their roles head on and not rely on the government to do everything.

“Some think the government should be doing everything, it’s time for you, our dear youth to work for a better Kurdistan,” he said.

The Kurdistan Region -- which is home to some five million Kurds, small numbers of Christians and Arabs from other parts of violent Iraq and more recently some 250,000 Syrian refugees -- is often dubbed the next Dubai for its incredible economic growth.

Oil companies from the United States, Russia and next-door Turkey are working on major exploration and pipeline projects to extract and export the region’s generous energy resources. Major international carriers like Dubai’s Emirates Airline report record passenger growth on flights into Erbil’s new and modern airport.

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Kurdox | 28/10/2013
Great initiatives to make our capital city one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, thank you Kak Nechirvan!!!
Bakir Lashkari
Bakir Lashkari | 28/10/2013
It seems that this project is a prestige project for the PM Necervan Barzani, which if fine as long as there is a balance between the private high and expensive villa's as well as the social houses. Next the this image projects there are also other aspects which should be taken into considerations, like fighting the corruptions, providing equal jobs for men and women, more education to the poor people and investments in the future generations like the technical, innovation as well as providing and offering projects to a wider range of construction companies and not only to the happy feb or followers of the major two political powers. There is a big dangerious like what is happening in Dubai that, there more expats and Foreign Wolkers than the local people who are working in the country. There will be heavy task on the new forming KRG regarding the technical and emotional rebalancing among the political climate in Kurdistan. There are a couple of major questions regarding the balance between the income and expenses; how much Oil Kurdistan owns the reserve and how much KRG has been borrowed the money from International investors / banks? How does the Kurdistan budget looks like for the coming 1,3,5,10,15 and 20 years? What is the plan for the retirement of the Kurdish nation of 5 mil people? What is the plan for national Health and Insurance?what is the plan for education? What is the plan for Agriculture and water Resources in Kurdistan? Is the Total plan of KRG future related or short term startegy? Do we know who are our friends and partners? Friends indeed are friends in need! Partners are business interest oriented! I remeber on thing of American, if you are healthy, you are ok, if not kick them out in Business! When can the KRG use iTS the richness and wealth of natural resources to utilize them for further progress and devolpment of the Kurdistan Masterplan which should comply and suitable, agreed to other sectors in private and public as well as to share the flavor with all communities in Kurdistan. We should also bear in mind that, this booming business needs als the best and highly sofisticated security systems to preserve the freedom, stability, equalities and prosperity 4all.
Russel Check | 29/10/2013
Erbil? the cities name is Hawler
KPatriot | 30/10/2013
Russel, Hawler, is the corrupted Kurdish version of Assyrian Arbila = Erbil. Right is right brother. However, I get your point.
Darin | 30/10/2013
When you visit any city you don't look first at the buildings whether they are tall or beautiful. The first thing you think about when you visit a city is the public transportation, how to get from point A to point B as quick as possible and cheap, much cheaper than taxi and that is not available in Hawler the capital of South Kurdistan now. There is no trains at at all, not on the ground and not underground, millions of people have never seen a train in their whole life only in movies. And what about the roads? What roads! Generally the roads of Kurdistan are very poor except some new roads, 30 km here and 50 km there, which absolutly not enough. It's much better if you invest in infrastructures like roads, public transportation first.
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