Iraq is the most oil dependent country in North Africa and the Middle East. More than half of its Gross Domestic Product and almost all of its foreign exchange come from petroleum. That has led to major difficulties with its economy. Some would explain this through the resource curse. That theory holds that countries that are natural resource dependent usually underperform, lack productivity in other parts of the economy, suffer from poor social indicators, poor governance, authoritarianism, and corruption. Having oil does not automatically mean that a nation will run into these problems. There are plenty of countries that have petroleum such as the United States, Canada, and Norway that have prospered. The deciding factors are trying to base development solely upon exploiting that resource, and then how the wealth generated is used and distributed. The resource curse definitely helps explain many of Iraq’s current economic difficulties.

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