Press Release

Financial literacy for a Sustainable Future in Iraq

04 May 2024

The ILO and the Central Bank of Iraq Launch the Financial Inclusion Week in Southern Iraq under the heading: “Towards Encouraging Savings to Enhance Financial Inclusion," with funding from the Government of Italy.

Al-Muthanna, Iraq – May 2, 2024 – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), are partnering to empower individuals and businesses in southern Iraq with financial literacy skills. A week-long initiative kicked off in Al-Muthanna governorate this week aligns with the CBI's broader Financial Inclusion Week activities for 2024, themed “Towards Encouraging Savings to Enhance Financial Inclusion."

The initiative builds upon the ongoing collaboration between the ILO, AICS and the government of Iraq to promote decent work, green jobs and a sustainable future in the south, under the ILO project “Towards More and Better Employment through Enhanced Support to Private Sectors in Southern Iraq – with a Focus on Green Business.”

“Financial inclusion is essential for building a more sustainable and inclusive future for all,” said Maha Kattaa ILO country coordinator in Iraq. “Through this collaboration with AICS and the CBI, we are empowering people in southern Iraq, particularly youth and women, with the financial literacy skills they need to save, invest, and grow green businesses, which contributes to enhancing economic development and creating decent job opportunities for all,” Kattaa added.

AICS, Italy's development cooperation agency, attaches great importance to financial inclusion for building a sustainable and inclusive future. Its support allows the programme to equip individuals and businesses with the knowledge and tools needed to fully participate in the financial system. This financial literacy empowers them to save, invest, and foster innovation, particularly for green businesses critical for a sustainable future in southern Iraq.

The Central Bank of Iraq works to empower individuals and businesses to access banking services through a variety of channels, including digital applications and online services, to facilitate daily financial transactions smoothly and efficiently. The bank also encourages the use of electronic payment tools, such as bank cards and electronic wallets, to achieve rapid and effective financial integration.

Hussein Abdul Amir Jabbar, Director of the Financial Inclusion Department at the Central Bank of Iraq, said: "The bank is committed to expanding financial inclusion across Iraq, aiming to reach different segments of society. He emphasized that the Central Bank of Iraq focuses during the Arab Financial Inclusion Week activities on raising awareness about financial banking services and educating individuals on how to manage their money effectively, including access to banking services and how to use them."

He added: "This awareness of the optimal use of banking services contributes to achieving individual financial empowerment and enhancing economic growth at the level of the Iraqi economy as a whole. The ILO initiative in the southern provinces aligns with the Central Bank of Iraq's goals of strengthening financial culture and empowering individuals and businesses to manage their financial affairs efficiently and effectively. This year's slogan reaffirms the bank's commitment to building a sustainable and strong financial system in Iraq, enabling everyone to participate in economic activity and benefit from it."

The Financial Inclusion Week in the south of Iraq featured a variety of activities, including:

  • Training of Trainers: Local experts will be equipped to deliver financial literacy workshops with a focus on green business practices using the ILO's Financial Education Tool.
  • Awareness Sessions: University students, graduates, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners, youth involved with the Ministry of Youth, and Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and men and women interested in starting or owning businesses will benefit from sessions highlighting the importance of financial inclusion, savings, responsible financial management, and sustainable business practices.
  • Online Session: Young Iraqi representatives who participated in the COP28 conference will gain valuable insights on integrating financial literacy with green business practices through a dedicated online session, who can also reach out their peers with this information on FI and green business.
  • Project Activities Information: Participants can access information about project activities, which encompass training on ILO tools such as SIYB (Start and Improve Your Business), green business practices, financial education, and assistance with accessing finance. During the Financial Inclusion Week, attendees can learn more about these activities and register their interest.

More than 500 young men and women took part in the events of Financial Inclusion Week in southern Iraq. The activities spanned eight sessions across the Basra and Muthanna governorates in collaboration with the University of Basra, the University of Muthanna, the Southern Technical University, the Chambers of Industry in Basra and Muthanna, the Directorate of Youth and Sports in Basra and Muthanna, the Vocational Training Center in Basra, and Siraj Al-Maarifa Company., where these activities contributed to:

  • Increased awareness of the benefits of financial inclusion and green business practices.
  • Improved financial literacy and knowledge among target groups, particularly regarding sustainable finance.
  • Increased savings and investment in southern Iraq, with a focus on green businesses.
  • Growth of small businesses and green entrepreneurship in the region.




Social Protection Programme Information Technology Iraq Focal Point

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative