Iraqi investment commission on Tuesday announced it licensed two commercial projects, marking the start of the long-awaited boom after years of sanctions and violence.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials are on a drive to promote investment with violence in Iraq at a four-year low. Direct foreign investment in Iraq was a mere $272 million in 2006, according to UN statistics.
"The investment commission granted two investment licenses: the first was for an Iraqi investor planning to build a five-star hotel in al-Utifiya district, while the second was for an Iraqi company planning to build commercial complex (Mall) containing 82 units in Baghdad's eastern side, Rusafa," said Iraq's investment agency's statement received by Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).
"The first project in Utaifiya aimed at promoting religious tourism and to provide facilities for pilgrims to religious sites," the announcement noted.
Utaifiya is a western Baghdad's district and known for its Buratha mosque. Shiites believe the mosque was built on the location where their revered Imam Ali stopped while fighting enemies in Baghdad. Utaifiya is a neighbor to Kadhimiya district, where a golden–domed shrines of Imam Musa Bin Jaafar al-Kadhim and his grandson Moahmed al-Jawad, the seventh and the ninth Imam for Shiites, lies. The shrine is annually visited by a high number of Shiite pilgrims.
Earlier, Iraq laid the foundation stone for a luxury hotel in Baghdad. That was the first project to receive a license from Iraq's new investment commission.
(Voices of Iraq)