Economy of Iraq

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Iraq's economy is dominated by the petroleum sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings.[2] In the 1980s, financial problems caused by massive expenditures in the eight-year war with Iran and damage to oil export facilities by Iran led the government to implement austerity measures, borrow heavily, and later reschedule foreign debt payments; Iraq suffered economic losses of at least $80 billion from the war.[3] After the end of hostilities, in 1988, oil exports gradually increased with the construction of new pipelines and restoration of damaged facilities.[4] GDP of Iraq grew 56% in the '60s reaching a peak growth of 57% in the '70s. However, the current GDP per capita shrank by 23% in the '80s amid the Iran-Iraq War.

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Economic sanctions of the 1990s

Iraq's seizure of Kuwait in August 1990, subsequent international economic sanctions, and damage from military action by an international coalition beginning in January 1991, drastically reduced economic activity. The government's policies of supporting large military and internal security forces and of allocating resources to key supporters of the regime have exacerbated shortages. The implementation of the UN's Oil for Food program in December 1996 has helped improve economic conditions. For the first six six-month phases of the program, Iraq was allowed to export limited amounts of oil in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods. In December 1999, the UN Security Council authorized Iraq to export as much oil as required to meet humanitarian needs. Oil exports are now about three-quarters their prewar level. Per capita food imports have increased significantly, while medical supplies and health care services are steadily improving. Per capita output and living standards are still well below the prewar level, but any estimates have a wide range of error .[citation needed]

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