BAGHDAD (AP) — Citigroup Inc. is set to become the first American bank to open an office of its own in Baghdad, highlighting financial firms’ growing interest in Iraq a decade after the U.S.-led 2003 invasion.
Executives say the representative office Citi has received preliminary approval for will help support its corporate customers in Iraq and act as a liaison for companies looking to do business there.
Iraq has struggled to attract interest from Western companies outside of the oil sector in the 10 years since U.S.-led forces toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Security and political instability remain major concerns, and corruption within the top-heavy statist economy is deeply entrenched.
Even so, foreign banks see opportunities as Iraq's economy opens up on the back of an oil boom.