As the head of the Zakho independent administration, I am honored to share the remarkable transformation that has taken place in our beloved city over the past two years. This transformation was made possible through a collective effort and the unwavering support of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Together, we have witnessed a revolution of prosperity that has touched every facet of life in Zakho.
One of the cornerstones of our rejuvenation efforts has been a comprehensive infrastructure overhaul. Quality roads are essential for the well-being of any community, a fact that we recognized. With the generous support of the KRG and the dedication of our administration, we have successfully revamped approximately 80% of our city’s streets and roads. Before this undertaking, an alarming 65% of these were unpaved.
The revitalization of Zakho goes beyond our streets and roads, encompassing water, sewage, and other essential services. The transformation of our city’s landscape is owed to the relentless work of the Zakho administration, working closely with Prime Minister Barzani.
President Masoud Barzani's visit to the Khabour river embankment, accompanied by local officials, on August 20, 2023
Enhancing healthcare and education
In Zakho, we have focused on elevating the standards of healthcare and education. Our healthcare facilities, including Zakho General Teaching Hospital and Zakho Emergency Hospital, have been renovated and equipped with cutting-edge medical facilities. Notably, we have renovated nine health centers and established new ones, including the essential Batifa General Hospital and the Children's Hospital in Zakho, to ensure that our residents have access to world-class healthcare within their city.
In the realm of education, Zakho’s schools have also undergone a significant transformation. We have constructed six new schools, with plans for three more in the near future. Additionally, 39 schools have been renovated, ensuring that our students have access to quality education. We have also launched teacher training programs to elevate the standard of education in our region.
Unlocking tourism potential
Zakho’s strategic location makes it an ideal hub for tourism. The region boasts numerous tourist and archaeological sites, including the iconic Delal Bridge, Sharanish Waterfall, Surya Waterfall, Bhere Cave, and the enchanting city of Zakho itself. A comprehensive effort to restore, expand, and promote these sites is underway, attracting tourists from across Iraq.
An awe-inspiring aerial perspective of the Khabour river, the historic Dalal bridge, and the charming Zakho embankment
Notably, Zakho’s emergence as a peaceful border town has enticed visitors to explore its natural and cultural treasures. By deploying peshmerga forces and Iraqi border guards to maintain stability in the region, the city has become an oasis of calm, luring tourists from far and wide.
The resulting increase in tourism has spurred growth in the hospitality and service sectors, creating new opportunities for businesses and residents alike. This surge in economic activity has prompted the Zakho administration to focus even more on developing the tourism sector, welcoming investment from both local and foreign sources.
Agricultural excellence and industrial progress
Zakho is renowned for its agricultural products, including wheat, apples, pomegranates, strawberries, figs, and more. The KRG has played a pivotal role in exporting these products to international markets, starting with pomegranates. An exciting development is the forthcoming UAE-backed agricultural project, which includes the construction of an agricultural research center. This initiative will empower local farmers to enhance crop quality and explore innovative irrigation methods.
Furthermore, an industrial zone spanning 800 acres is set to be established in Zakho, further boosting job opportunities and domestic production in the administration. As a crucial trade point between neighboring countries, Zakho is poised to become a vital industrial and economic center.
A bright future
The future of Zakho is filled with promise thanks to its strategic location, innovative projects, and strong leadership. The city’s transformation is a testament to the determination of its administration, the unwavering support of the KRG, and the vision of Prime Minister Barzani.
In just two years, over 200 diverse projects have been initiated in Zakho, with more than 60% already completed. The city is not only a shining example of development in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) but also an attractive opportunity for both local and foreign investors. Its prospects continue to expand, making Zakho a beacon of progress that other regions in the KRI and beyond can aspire to emulate.
Zakho’s transformation reveals what can be achieved when leadership, vision, and commitment align in pursuit of progress and prosperity.
Gohdar Shekho is the governor of Zakho.