Iraq: Microfinance Strategy




Busardo, Kathryn
Gavagan, Cara
Kenny, Janet
Wallace, Sarah
Roberts, Kristin

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After the 2003 invasion of Iraq by coalition forces, the United States developed a policy to rebuild the Iraqi government and economy. Part of this policy was the establishment of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country. Microfinance is the practice of lending small amounts of money to entrepreneurs in developing countries in an attempt to expand the local economy. Prior to 2003, there were no MFIs in Iraq. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contracted with The Louis Berger Group, Inc., (Berger) a prominent U.S. based infrastructure engineering company, to manage the U.S.-funded microfinance initiatives in Iraq. Berger has projects across the U.S. and in 140 countries; with expertise in project planning, management, and budget administration. In addition to their work in microfinance, Berger has experience in transportation, infrastructure, communications and the development of schools, hospitals, courts, and police stations. This article analyzes the successes enjoyed and challenges faced by microfinance initiatives managed by Berger, as well as their contribution toward the U.S. strategy for victory in Iraq. This article also offers recommendations for sustaining economic growth in the region.



Iraq, Microfinance