Qatar and the UAE joining the Development Road Project: Motivations and Benefits

The highlight on the economic agenda of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Iraq on April 22, 2024, was the signing of a quadrilateral MOU between Iraq, Türkiye, Qatar, and the UAE for cooperation in the 'Development Road' and 'Grand Faw Port' projects. The MOU entails the signing countries committing to establishing the necessary frameworks to implement both projects.

The Grand Faw Port and the Development Road are interconnected projects with intertwined destinies. The economic feasibility of each project depends entirely on the completion of the other. It is planned that these two projects will be the main elements of a new corridor for global trade and economy, connecting Asia and Europe through railways and modern transportation routes to be constructed, extending from the Grand Faw Port and other Iraqi ports to Turkish territories. The Turkish territories and ports are envisioned to become the new gateway for Asian trade to Europe, originating from Iraqi ports and territories. Similarly, Iraq would serve as the new gateway for European trade to Asia, starting with  Türkiye.

The Turkish and Iraqi governments are engaging positively and earnestly with the Development Road project, with a noticeable increase in official visits and meetings regarding this matter. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani and relevant Iraqi officials speak with great optimism and confidence about the future of this project. Al-Sudani stated during the Development Road conference in 2023: 'We see in this project a cornerstone for a non-oil sustainable economy and a knot of connectivity serving Iraq's neighbours and the region, as well as an important step in the path of economic integration efforts'.

The Turkish government, on its part, has been treating this project with great importance and enthusiasm since its inception. President Erdogan stated in mid-February 2024, from aboard his plane returning from his visit to Egypt, 'This project will become a new Silk Road for the region and serve regional peace'.

The participation of Qatar and the UAE, two countries with strong economies, in the agreements and understandings between Iraq and Türkiye regarding the Development Road project will give this project new momentum and a strong push forward in its implementation paths. Moreover, this step has dispelled many doubts that were raised about the future of this project and  increased the level of confidence in its feasibility. So, what are the motivations for these two countries to join this project? And what are the benefits of their joining the project?