Iraq eyes joining Development Road with China’s Silk Road: PM Sudani

Amr Al Housni

Jun. 11, 2024 • 3 min read
Image of Iraq eyes joining Development Road with China’s Silk Road: PM Sudani

Iraqi PM discusses integrating China's Belt and Road initiative with the country's Development Road project.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani announced the potential integration of China's Belt and Road initiative with Iraq's Development Road project during a meeting on Sunday with Dai Houliang, the executive director of PetroChina in the Middle East.


"The presence of Chinese companies in different sectors strengthens our bilateral relations," Sudani said.


He highlighted a strategic associated gas project in Maysan province, implemented by PetroChina, which aligns with the government's priorities to reduce gas flaring.


Sudani outlined Iraq's interest in developing gas projects as part of a broader plan to advance the manufacturing industry and fertilizer production.


"The Belt and Road initiative can be linked with the Development Road project to form a single project," Sudani stated, noting the company's willingness to cooperate.


He also expressed Iraq's readiness to partner in petrochemical projects outside the country.


The government is committed to environmental standards and aims to create an investment-friendly environment, develop training centers, and cooperate on academic scholarships.


In 2019, China signed agreements exceeding $64 billion at the Belt and Road Initiative summit, also known as the New Silk Road.


This massive Chinese project aims to position Beijing as the hub of global economic relations.


Officially known as the Belt and Road Initiative, this ambitious Chinese project was unveiled in 2013 to revive the historic Silk Road.


The initiative aims to connect China with the world by investing billions of dollars in infrastructure along the Silk Road, linking China with Asia and Europe that passes through Iraq.


It is set to become the largest infrastructure project in human history, encompassing the construction of ports, roads, railways, and industrial zones.


The Iraqi government has also unveiled its own ambitious initiative dubbed the Development Road project.


This expansive project spans the length of the country, stretching from its southernmost shores along the Gulf to its northern border with Turkey, and even extending further into Europe.


Iraq sees this roadway as a crucial connection bridging the industrially vibrant nations of Asia with the technologically advanced, industrially robust, and agriculturally prosperous countries of Europe.


Stretching across 1200 kilometers, this corridor links the southern port of Faw to the Turkish border in the north via a network of railways and highways, passing through 10 Iraqi cities.


The initial investment is estimated at $17 billion, with projected annual profits reaching approximately $5 billion.


Despite Iraq's ambitious Development Road project aimed at transforming the country into a regional transport hub, international politics present three alternative global trade routes, bypassing Iraq and complicating its initiative.


These alternatives include corridors by Russia, China, and the United States.


Iraq views these global projects as bypassing its own economic opportunities but acknowledges their regional significance. Iraq's Development Road project, which links the Grand Faw Port to Turkey and Europe, promises to cut travel time significantly and handle millions of passengers and containers. The first phase is set to complete by 2028, with the Port of Faw already under construction.


While global alternatives pose challenges, Iraq is progressing with the Development Road project, envisioning it as the shortest and most efficient route to the global market.

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Author Amr Al Housni

Amr Al Housni is a Syrian news reporter based in Erbil, specializing in coverage of local and international events.


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