By Yara Kamaran Ismael:
As we all know, unfortunately, Kurdistan is going through a huge economic crisis. The war with ISIS, refugees, and problems with the central government of Iraq are making it impossible for the Kurds to maintain a flourishing economy.
The recent fall in the Iraqi Dinar and the rise of the Dollar in the Kurdistan Region’s (KR) markets has reached a climax at 100$ = 145 I.D.
Meanwhile, it seems the only thing the KRG is doing is calling for the independent Kurdistan and convincing people that this is near, while it is actually still a long shot.
Asso Mamzada has been studying the basis for a Kurdish Diraw and Kuro and designing this for approximately 15 years. He has designed the Diraw as the smallest unit of the currency: 100 of them to make up one Kuro. He is confident that the Kurdish State is due by next year and that everything must be ready by that time. However, he has shockingly been given a negative reaction by the relevant authorities in the KRG and specifically the Minister of Finance.
All this makes us raise the question, is now the time for the KURO and DIRAW (the Kurdish Currency)?
I would say that this, of course, is not a black-and-white subject, but rather one with its darker and lighter sides. Let me discuss the pros first:
At first sight, the Kurdish Currency looks like a great idea, especially for a nationalist Kurd who thinks it is time to be totally split from Iraq. Now, that is true! Stopping the I.D. in Kurdistan and starting to use the Kuro would definitely give the KR more autonomy.
Another positive aspect is it has been proven throughout time that a National Currency for almost every country fuels its industrial revolution.
Yet another benefit is that, with the fall of the Iraqi Dinar, driven by the local war with the ISIL terrorist groups, a Kurdish Currency might get a higher exchange rate than the Dinar.
Plus, the launch of a Kurdish Currency would probably halt the increasing use of USDs in Kurdistan. It is a fact that the USD is used now more than before, not only in official, foreign, and large-scale money transfers but also in everyday transactions.
Now, what are the cons?
To start with, Banqi Nawandi Kurdistan (The Central Bank of Kurdistan) does not have any exchanges with any foreign country or bank except The Central Bank of Iraq (Baghdad), which makes it difficult to start a Kurdish Currency.
Also, in this bad economic situation that Kurdistan is going through, and with its empty treasury, it would be hard to launch a high-rated, credible Kurdish Currency.
Adding to the issue is the question: are the Kurdish people ready to let go of their usual currencies and adopt a new one?
However, with the continuous promises from the KRG of a soon-to-be-established independent Kurdistan, if this is true, isn’t a currency a requirement for every establishing state?
Yara Kamaran Ismael is a Kurdish activist based in California and the director of ‘Help Akre Refugee Camp’ fundraising campaign. Yara is a student at Sonora High School.