Benchmarking the Kurdistan Region is an independent assessment by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the peace and security, political environment, business environment and quality of life in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The report was commissioned by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The EIU bears sole responsibility for the content of the report. The EIU’s editorial team wrote the report, gathered and analysed the data and conducted the Interviews that support the report’s findings.
For many companies enticed by the Kurdistan Region’s stability and rapid growth, it can be difficult to understand and quantify the exact nature of the business opportunities in the region.
How significant are these opportunities in reality and how difficult are they to exploit?
How safe and secure is the Kurdistan Region for a foreign company today?
What is the quality of life like for people who live there?
With this in mind, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to assess and rank the Kurdistan Region on six benchmarking indexes to quantify the extent to which it differs from Iraq and other countries around the world. These benchmarking indexes assess the peace and security, political environment, business environment and quality of life in the Kurdistan Region.
To add the KRG to each of these benchmarking indexes, the EIU assessed the region on 136 indicators; 57 of these indicators were quantitative (data-based), while the remainder were qualitative (opinion-based). The qualitative indicators were scored by a team of EIU specialists and were supported by a field trip to the Kurdistan Region and interviews with 35 business executives, government officials, academics, non-governmental-organisation (NGO) employees and journalists.
For the quantitative indicators, the EIU carried out an extensive data audit of official Iraq and KRG data. Several of the data points required to construct the indexes are not yet available from KRG or Iraqi government sources. Where possible, these quantitative indicators have been scored using data available from third-party organizations, such as UN agencies and third-party country agencies, and, where necessary, by estimation.
On the Global Peace Index, the Kurdistan Region is ranked 115th out of 163 countries and is considered to be more peaceful than Turkey or Iran. However, its level of “internal” peace is considerably higher than its level of “external” peace. Iraq is ranked 160th out of 163 countries, ahead of only Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
On the Security and Stability Index, the Kurdistan Region is ranked 83rd out of 181 countries, on a par with China and Brazil. In contrast, Iraq is ranked 177th and is among the most unstable and unsecure countries in the world. It is ranked ahead of only Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Central African Republic.
On the Political Environment Index, the Kurdistan Region is ranked 55th out of 83 countries. Its political environment is on a par with those of Thailand, India, Tunisia and Turkey. In contrast, Iraq is ranked 83rd, in last place.
On the Business Environment Index, the Kurdistan Region is ranked 57th out of 83 countries. It is ranked just ahead of Indonesia and Jordan and just behind Croatia. It ranks ahead of major countries, such as Russia and India. In contrast, Iraq is ranked 72nd.
On the Business Environment Index, the Kurdistan Region’s performance varies considerably across the ten individual categories, with its global ranking ranging from 14th to 81st. It performs best on taxes, market opportunities, foreign direct investment policy and macroeconomic environment. However, it struggles on the labour market, financing conditions and infrastructure.
On the Quality of Life Index, the Kurdistan Region is ranked 55th out of 159 countries, considerably ahead of Iraq, which is ranked 134th. It is also ranked ahead of Turkey and some EU countries, such as Croatia, Estonia and Bulgaria.
On the Human Development Index, the KRG is ranked joint 76th out of 188 countries, ahead of Iraq, which is ranked 97th. It is also ranked ahead of Jordan, Turkey and Oman.