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Oil price recovery stymies Iraq's reform hopes

The short-term boost to government coffers from crude’s rally will likely postpone any significant changes

“There is a need for reform, but, as long as oil prices are high, I cannot see that happening.” So says Ahmed Tabaqchali, chief investment officer of the Iraq fund at fund management firm Asia Frontier Capital (AFC), speaking on a June podcast organised by political risk consultancy Menas Associates. In the teeth of what the World Bank warned in September last year was the risk of an “economic meltdown” in Iraq due to the pandemic-led collapse in oil prices, Iraqi finance minister Ali Allawi and other reformist elements drafted two white papers, “one laying out the diagnosis of why Iraq was in such a profound pickle, and the second laying out both micro and macro plans for economic reform”,

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