What’s on Rouhani’s second-term Economic Agenda?

With regard to the business climate, while Iran has registered improvements in a number of areas there is enormous room for further advancement, and the government will have to engage in the needed reforms to pave the way for domestic and foreign investments that would create jobs and economic impetus.

Finally, the program points to two policy areas that could become game-changers in the trajectory of economic development in Iran: promoting tourism and strengthening the internet infrastructure in the country. The positive impact of growth in tourism on job creation has already been felt in the past two years, but for this trend to continue the government needs to pave the way for investments in the tourism sector, including the promotion of health and sports tourism.

Meanwhile, strengthening the country’s information technology (IT) and internet infrastructure will facilitate the growth of IT-based entrepreneurship — a unique opportunity for Iran’s young, educated and dynamic population. Evidently, these two sectors (tourism and greater internet availability) face opposition from the arch-conservative segment of the country’s political structure, but Rouhani needs to stand firm and argue that the job and wealth creation value of both sectors are necessities in a country that is facing significant youth unemployment.

All in all, Rouhani’s developmental plans for the next four years are nuanced and progressive, but the reforms need to go hand-in-hand with a series of political, legal and structural changes to become effective and sustainable. It is now hoped and expected that he will use the stronger mandate of his re-election to implement necessary reforms to pave the way for the country’s future progress.

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