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Can $20B Iraq Development Road project rival India-Middle East corridor?

A new trade route is in the works to connect the Gulf with Europe along the Development Road, starting in Iraq.
UAE's Energy Minister Suhail Mohamed al-Mazrouei (L) and Turkey's Transport Minister Abdulkadir Uraloglu (R) speak together during the signing of the "Development Road" framework agreement on security, economy, and development in Baghdad on April 22, 2024.

Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates recently launched a new trade route connecting the Gulf with Europe as they pursue closer economic ties. Named the Development Road, it is the latest economic corridor in the region after China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.

Finalized during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Baghdad on April 22, the project is projected to cost $20 billion, with most of the financial backing provided by Doha and Abu Dhabi. 

AD Ports, an Emirati company, has already signed a preliminary agreement for a joint venture with the General Company for Ports of Iraq to develop the key port along with an economic zone. 

Since neither the IMEC nor China’s Belt and Road Initiative pass directly through Iraq, the project is a win for Baghdad, which is looking to further increase its $24 billion trade volume with Turkey.

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