• 45 mins Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 2 hours Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 3 hours OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 4 hours London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 5 hours Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 7 hours Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 14 hours India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 19 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 23 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 1 day Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 1 day Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 2 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 3 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 3 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 6 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 6 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 7 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 7 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 7 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 7 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 7 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
Alt Text

Are Combustion Engines Reaching Peak Demand?

As countries announce plans to…

Alt Text

Corbyn Seeks To Renationalize Britain’s Utilities

Jeremy Corbyn wants to renationalize…

Alt Text

Kobe Steel Scandal Could Rattle Nuclear Industry

The scandal at Japan’s Kobe…

IWPR

IWPR

IWPR helps people in the world's most challenging environments have the information they need to drive positive changes in their lives — holding government to…

More Info

Graduates Cut Out of the Oil Boom in Basra

Graduates Cut Out of the Oil Boom in Basra

On a recent afternoon in the southern city of Basra, a cry went up in the local bazaar that the police were coming. In an instant, street-sellers rolled up their wares and scattered. One of the vendors, Gasim Talib, wasn't so lucky.

As he received an earful from the local officers, Talib had some strong words of his own.

"What do you want me to do? There are no jobs; there isn't even a government to find us jobs. How can I make a living if I don't sell on the streets?" Talib said.

It might be a typical scene in any Iraqi city as unemployment soars across the country. But this is the oil hub of Basra, where new money is said to be plentiful, rapid development is everywhere to be seen and major international corporations are arriving in force. Talib isn't a typical case either; and his story is common among a growing segment of Basra's jobless.

"‘I am 28 years old. I graduated from the College of Engineering at the University of Basra in 2005. I tried so hard to get a job but could not. I didn’t have 5,000 US dollar [bribe] or a contact in the government, and I refused to join any political party. This is why I am a street vendor, always chased by the police for selling in prohibited places," Talib told IWPR.

Recent graduates from the two higher education institutions in Basra province echo the same complaint: skilled work is nearly impossible to find and many jobs require connections, bribes or ties to a political party, they say. Making matters worse is the arrival of oil corporations that so far have largely imported their own technical staff.

Souad Abdul Nabi, 26, graduated in 2007 with a degree in computer science from the province's private university, Shaat al-Arab College. She says her education is proving worthless as debts pile up at home.

"I burdened my family with university expenses.  This is the third year [after graduation] for me and I haven’t been able to get a job. I feel guilty that I burdened my family without giving back anything. There are no vacancies, expect for those with influence and power," Nabi said.

According to Dr Ageel Abdul-Hussein, director of information at the University of Basra, an average of 4,000 students matriculate each year, with 4,500 graduates in 2010. But Abdul-Hussein said it is not the responsibility of the university to provide jobs for graduates.

“We are responsible for preparing them through education as well as training programmes and workshops," he added, although none of the graduates who spoke to IWPR said they had attended the latter.

Hashem Laibi, media director of the Basra provincial council, said the unemployment rate for the entire province in 2010 was 25 per cent, but conceded that it could be even higher for graduates.

Dr Nabil al-Jaafar, professor at the College of Management and Economics at the University of Basra, estimated the overall jobless rate to be closer to 30 per cent and said among the poorest sectors of society, including recent graduates, the figure is as high as 50 per cent.

"We have been keen to support the graduates by securing appointments in foreign companies that want to invest in Iraq. We'd like to start a process in which to qualify for a license to invest in Basra these companies must appoint a number of new graduates," Abidi said, adding that the council had endorsed micro-credit projects funded by the United Kingdom to provide graduates with small-business loans.

Experts believe Basra province holds between 40 to 60 per cent of Iraqi's oil, an untapped resource that could revitalise the crippled economy. Since contracts were awarded to foreign companies last August, oil giants such as Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and China's CNPC have arrived along with hundreds of smaller outfits. The Guardian newspaper earlier this month described Basra city as "heaving with new money".

Dr Mohammad Saleh, representative of the ministry of education at the ministry of oil, said the central government intends to turn the incoming investment into jobs.

"The ministry of oil is encouraging oil companies to financially support trained engineers and graduates to reduce unemployment and at the same time to supply the oil industry with professionals,” Saleh said.

Saleh continued that the ministry of oil has developed plans for a College of Petroleum in Basra aimed at developing skilled workers for the incoming oil giants. He said the school could be a reality by 2012.

Until then, graduates entering the workforce in Basra say they stand little chance of landing a job.

"The prevailing sentiment among young people is hopelessness," Amin Ali, a freshman at the University of Basra, said.

"This is really frustrating. It makes me feel that I’ll be just another graduate without a job or a future like so many of my friends. You can't get a job unless you beg or pay. It seems society has become a game in which eligibility criteria has nothing to do with education or experience."

By. Ali Abu Iraq

This article originally appeared in IWPR.net and is produced by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, www.iwpr.net




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on November 10 2010 said:
    Amazing. Something else to chalk up to the completely ignorant George Bush. Iraq has everything necessary to succeed where resources (oil) and the intelligence of the population are concerned, but yet engineering graduates cannot get jobs. I never heard of anything like that.I've taught a number of Iraqui students through the years. My advice to graduates and non graduates alike iin that country and elsewhere is this: continue to study, don't sell, give away or throw away your math and engineering science books. It worked for me when I was expelled from engineering school for poor scholarship, and it will work for you too.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News