ABOUT NINEWA GOVERNORATE
Located in northern Iraq, Ninewa Governorate is home to Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, and has historically been Iraq’s leading center of agricultural production. Mosul still plays an important role in Iraq’s international trade, with major road and railway connections to Turkey. The governorate embodies a diverse mix of ethnic and religious communities, including large populations of Yazidis, Shabaks, and Christians in the Ninewa Plains region. Ninewa, and the Ninewa Plains in particular, were among the areas most affected by the Da’esh (ISIS) occupation, which led to the destruction of infrastructure and displacement of entire communities.
Today, the people of Ninewa look to revive their communities and restore their livelihoods. For many, this includes dreams of starting or growing businesses and creating jobs to support themselves and encourage other community members to return. USAID developed the Ninewa Investment Forum to support the people of Ninewa by providing a foundation for economic recovery that can help to preserve Iraq's rich cultural mosaic.
NINEWA ECONOMIC SECTORS
Previously, Ninewa was known for being the “breadbasket” of Iraq due to its fertile farmlands that produced large yields of wheat and barley. Nearly 40 percent of all wheat and barley produced in Iraq came from Ninewa. The Da’esh occupation damaged many aspects of Ninewa’s agriculture sector, including irrigation systems, cold storage facilities, and farmlands. Ninewa’s re-emerging agri-businesses continue to struggle with a lack of funding to purchase and repair equipment, as well as a lack of human resources due to displacement. Despite these challenges, agricultural work remains key to providing employment and sustenance for Ninewa’s population. In addition to staple grain crops, Ninewa’s farmers have begun successfully cultivating sugar cane, sunflowers, vegetables, and medicinal and aromatic herbs, as well as taking up beekeeping and establishing fisheries.
Ninewa’s large population also represents a significant local market for businesses selling food products. These opportunities offer a comprehensive range of agricultural investment options, including livestock, cold storage, dairy factories, poultry, milk production, juices, eggs, olive oil, tahina, and food packaging.
Ninewa’s industrial sector holds great potential, as the governorate is rich in natural resources, including oil and gas, sulphur, and minerals. In the past, Ninewa was home to businesses producing ceramics, paint, cement, leather and wool goods, textiles, vegetable oils, and pharmaceuticals.
Today, Ninewa’s emerging industrial sector includes food processing, leather products, furniture manufacturing, beverage producers, steel recycling, and aluminium products, among others. In addition to these growing businesses, Ninewa’s oil and mineral sectors are poised for robust expansion as well.
Ninewa is well-known for its ancient sites and cultural assets, including the ruins of ancient Nineveh, the Great Mosque, and Rabban Hormizd Monastery, among other famous mosques, churches, castles and ruins. Following the Da’esh occupation, the tourism sector remains underdeveloped, yet has the potential to contribute to economic growth and job creation in across sectors, including construction, hospitality, and retail.
The governorate’s historical sites hold significant investment opportunities for tourism investment, such as site development and management, hotels, museums, restaurants, travel, and transportation. In addition, the diverse religious and ethnic communities in Ninewa and Ninewa Plains offer the potential for cultural tourism as well.
To meet the demands of its young and growing population, as well as an increasing number of returnees, Ninewa will require rapid investment in real estate. This includes funding to develop residential and commercial real estate, as well as public facilities, such as schools and hospitals. Women entrepreneurship, technology-based services, and supermarkets and fast-moving consumer goods distribution also show great potential for expansion.