Investing in Iraq: A Deep Dive Into Real Estate and Tech

A collaborative effort between Iraq’s leading startup media platform, Iraqi Innovators and the Iraqi Embassy in London culminated in an intimate conference under the title of “Investing in Iraq.” 

Held at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, the event served as a platform for Iraqi diaspora in the UK to explore opportunities in the booming sectors of Real Estate and Technology in Iraq.

The three-hour conference, built on the momentum of the Taqat Forum held in London in January 2024, which aimed to bridge the gap between Iraq and the UK, and foster collaboration and investment in key industries such as E-commerce, Fintech, and Health. 

Sponsored by “Bayt Iraqi” a real estate platform focused on properties in the South of Iraq, the event attracted a diverse audience eager to engage in discussions and exchange ideas.

Introduction: Setting the scene  

Zahra speaking

The conference kicked off with welcoming remarks by Zahra Shah, Founder of Iraqi Innovators, who set the scene with recent developments on the Iraqi economic and business landscape. She shared the latest updates such as the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Investment company, the launch of the second phase of Iraq’s e-governance initiative, and the cooperation deal between Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Zahra concluded the introduction by sharing the news of the $17 billion dollar Road Development project. Launching in early 2025, the project involves two railway networks spanning 1200 km, a new motorway originating from Al Faw port in Basra, and high speed trains across Iraq.

The new Development Road project is estimated to generate $4 billion annually and create at least 100,000 jobs.

The project would provide an “economic artery and a promising opportunity to bring interests, history and cultures together to make our region a destination for anyone seeking successful investment”.  

Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al Sudani

Technology: Innovation and Investment  


Co-founder of Iraq Innovators, Amara Bandukada took to the stage to give an overview of Iraq’s investment and tech startup ecosystem.

Mohsen speaking

From green solutions, online marketplaces to digital wallets and education technology, Amara shared success stories from Iraq and Kurdistan of young entrepreneurs.

Amara shared valuable insights on the main investors who include Euphrates Iraq Fund, Sturgeon Capital, Iraq Venture Partners and more. It is estimated that investments into Iraqi startups amount to over $44 million across 30 deals since 2019.

With delivery apps being the top funded sector followed by E-commerce. Amara pointed out the disparity in investments raised between genders, where female-founded startups only account for $350,000 of the total investment amount.

Wrapping up the first topic for the event, Amara shared statistics on the distribution of startups by sector and by city, shedding light on the innovative spirit driving the Iraqi tech scene.

Building on Amara’s presentation, the second speaker Mohsen Khairaldin followed up with a detailed insight into legal streaming in Iraq.

Mohsen co-founded 1001, the leading streaming platform in Iraq. Capitalising on Iraq’s young and tech savvy population, the platform has gathered over 2.5 million users since its launch in early 2023 which marks a shift from the move away from piracy and illegal streaming in Iraq.

Real Estate: Market Analysis and Opportunity 

For the Real Estate portion of the event, the first speaker was Mahdi Zewin, Founder of Bayt Iraqi. He shared his story of moving from the UK to Iraq and launching his business due to the huge potential of the real estate sector. Mahdi’s presentation sparked interest with its use of detailed information on the return-on-investment for properties in Karbala and Najaf, combined with a telling of his own personal journey.

Mahdi speaking

With a projected annual growth rate of 4.43% from 2024 to 2028, the market volume for Real Estate is expected to reach $1.32tn by 2028, due to an increase in demand caused by foreign investment. 

“This same conversation could have been said 40 years ago in Dubai. I believe Iraq is heading in that direction.”

Mahdi Zewin, Founder of Bayt Iraqi

Mahdi concluded the seminar by sharing why he has faith in the Iraqi real estate market because of Iraq’s demographic, political stability and investment by foreign businesses.

Shad Salar, Sales and Marketing Manager of the property platform Homele delivered the final talking point for the night. Shad shared insights and opportunities for international investors in real estate to get involved by taking a data-focused approach. Shad showed the real estate market size and agency market size, in addition to sharing information on the most in-demand apartment type and neighbourhoods in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Impact: Inspire and Motivate 

The conference concluded with a lively Q&A session, where attendees asked questions related to market access, payments, leaseholds, banking, and anti-money laundering regulations. 

The conference highlighted the collective enthusiasm and determination of Iraqi innovators to drive positive change and innovation in their homeland.

Reflecting on the success of the conference, Zahra Shah commented:

“We’ve had a very mixed turnout from people already embedded and working in Iraq to Iraqi diaspora who haven’t seen Iraq in decades. The feedback from the latter has been extremely positive as they’ve left the event with a deeper understanding of the opportunities available in the country.”

Zahra Shah, Founder at Iraqi Innovators

As the conference came to a close, attendees left inspired and motivated to explore new opportunities and collaborations in Iraq. 

“It was a wonderful and informative conference” one attendee said “I’ve gained so many useful insights and can’t wait to visit Iraq”.

With the collaborative networks and ripple effects generated by events like “Investing in Iraq,” it is safe to say that the future looks promising for Iraqi innovators both in the UK and beyond.

Ali Raed

Ali Raed, a 25-year-old dentist, writer, teacher and radio show presenter from Babel, Iraq, is dedicated to exploring and sharing stories of innovation, creativity, and technology. He eagerly explores how creativity intertwines with business and entrepreneurship, aiming to infuse fresh, original thinking into these realms.

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