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Sida's work in Iraq

Sida's development cooperation in Iraq will contribute to a more peaceful society, greater respect for human rights and gender equality, and development in the environmental and climate fields. For decades, the Iraqi population has been severely affected by armed conflict and political instability. That is why Sida also provides humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Progress has been made

Refugees return home

Since 2017, nearly 5 million internally deplaced people, out of a total of 6 million, have been able to return to their homes in areas occupied by IS.1 More than one million people are still living as refugees in their own country.2

Historically high number of women in parliament

The 2021 elections redrew the political map. For the first time, several independent candidates were elected to parliament, including 29 % women, more than ever before.3 At the same time, threats and harassment against human rights activists and women politicians have increased since the elections.

The economy is recovering

The economy is slowly recovering from an earlier downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and falling oil prices. Oil exports have picked up and the increase in public debt has come to a halt. The recovery is fragile and threatened by the climate crisis. At the same time, economic inequality has worsened and poverty is widespread.4

Challenges remain

Increased poverty

Poverty increased as a result of the pandemic and 2021 was the second driest year in 40 years. Around 5.3 million people are affected. Many have lost their jobs and incomes. Unemployment is high and hits women and young people hardest.5 58 % of the population is below the age of 24.6

Inequality permeates society

Iraq is one of the world’s least gender-equal countries and ranks at the bottom of global measurements, most recently 154 out of 156 in the World Economics’ Gender Equality Index 2021. Women’s ability to influence society is limited.7

Widespread corruption

Transparency International once again ranks Iraq as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is deeply rooted in the country’s economy and politics and deprives the population of basic rights such as access to clean water, healthcare, electricity, infrastructure and employment.8

Two types of aid

Sida conducts development cooperation with Iraq that contributes to the country’s long-term development. We also provide humanitarian aid intended to save lives and alleviate distress in emergency situations.

Updated: October 4, 2022