Northern Mesopotamia

Northern Mesopotamia includes the governorates of Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Kirkuk, and Diyala.


Named for the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, Ninawa governorate lies along Iraq’s northwestern border with Syria. One of the most ethnically diverse provinces of Iraq, Ninawa is home to Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, Yezidis, Shabak, and other minorities. The ruins of Nineveh lie across the Tigris River from the capital of Ninawa, Mosul.

Currently the province’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which provides 50% of the provincial GDP. As the third largest city in Iraq, the size of Mosul’s workforce allows significant potential for economic growth. There are oil reserves in the province, and the Qayyarah asphalt plant south of Mosul is expected to become the largest producer of asphalt in the Middle East, once it is operating at capacity.

Major rail and highway routes crossing into Syria and Turkey go through Mosul. Mosul International Airport (IATA code OSM) has flights to Dubai, Istanbul, and Amman. As the security situation improves, the tourism sector expects significant growth.

One of Iraq’s three economic Free Zones is just north of Mosul. The Iraqi Commercial Office has more information on these zones at their website, as does the NIC.

The NIC’s website on Ninawa can be found here. The provincial commission is here.

Salah ad Din

Named for the legendary sultan Saladin, Salah ad Din governorate extends northwest from Baghdad along the Tigris River. The birthplace of Saladin, Tikrit, is the provincial capital. The largest city of Salah ad Din, Samarra, is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Iraq. A second, Ashur, is also in the province.

The economy is heavily agricultural, with 44% of the workforce engaged in farming – especially fruit orchards and vineyards. As the security situation improves, there is good potential for diversification of the provincial economy into petrochemicals and tourism.

The Salah ad Din Investment Commission has a homepage here. The NIC’s webpage for Salah ad Din is here.


Kirkuk, the eponymous capital of Kirkuk governorate, is a ethnically and religiously diverse city of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Kildan, Assyrians, and Armenians in northern Iraq. The mountainous province is bounded by rivers to the southeast and west.

The oil, natural gas, and petrochemical industries are large sectors in Kirkuk, where the current production capacity is one million barrels a day and over 10 billion barrels of proven reserves remain. Small scale agriculture is still an important part of the economy as well. Going forward, the province hopes to develop manufacturing and the automotive industry.

The Kirkuk page of the NIC is located here.


Diyala governorate borders Iran to the east and Baghdad to the southwest. The capital, Baqubah, lay along the old Silk Road connecting Baghdad to the East. Today the province has major north-south and east-west rail and road routes running across it.

The multiple rivers that flow through the province make it a fertile region for agriculture. Diyala’s famous date and fruit orchards line roads throughout the region, making Baqubah the center of trade for commercial orange and date groves. Livestock, poultry, and fish farming make up the other significant areas of Diyala’s economy. Investment in Diyala is now primarily focused on revitalizing the agricultural industry.

The Diyala Investment Commission’s website has additional information. The NIC’s page for Diyala is here.

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