It is not surprising that Western countries and Japan, South Korea and Singapore are modern without oil. Middle Eastern countries, however, with their billions of barrels of oil, are still consumer and importing countries. This is because the first group of countries use their minds to generate income, while the second group rely on the limited resource of oil.

Why is the GTA game making 14 times more than Kurdistan’s oil?

By Ibrahim Anwar : Kurdistan Tribune – 7.10.2013The majority of Kurdistan’s income is from the sale of oil. The Kurdistan Region produces 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) and, deducting all operation costs and other indirect costs, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG’s) revenue will be 1,720,000,000 USD for October 2013. The KRG has anticipated 1,957,000,000 USD as its monthly revenue during the first six months of 2014, with this gradually increasing to 2,313,000,000 USD per month by the end of the year. In other words, total revenue for year 2014 will be approximately 25,620,000,000 USD (25.62 billion USD). However, the KRG will only achieve this revenue if it increases production from 750,000 bpd to 1,000,000 bpd, so the anticipated revenue has some conditions.

To put this into context, global sales revenues of one PlayStation game are likely to be 14 times greater than the KRG’s oil revenues. A group of engineers and computer programmers have made a new version of a famous game. The game sales reached 800 million USD in 24 hours after it was released to the market. The new version of this game, Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV), broke the previous sales record of the Call of Duty game, which generated 480 million USD in its first 24 hours.

GTAV has been out for less than a month but imagine if the sales go on like this. In 30 days its revenues will total around 24 billion USD: amazing for a mere game – generating around 14 times more than the sale of Kurdistan’s oil.

The KRG would have to sell oil for 14 months before it could raise as much as GTAV did in one month. Selling oil and spending its money is not art, and it does not require any special talent and creativity. Art is when you use your mind and be creative and use your creativity to achieve something. Bon appetite 24 billion USD.

It is not surprising that Western countries and Japan, South Korea and Singapore are modern without oil. Middle Eastern countries, however, with their billions of barrels of oil, are still consumer and importing countries. This is because the first group of countries use their minds to generate income, while the second group rely on the limited resource of oil.

Do you think we in Kurdistan can reach the day when our fantastic ideas are worth billions of dollars? Who will invest in the youths’ ideas? What are the problems that the KRG will encounter? And what are the requirements to start having a creative society? Personally I think there are two main problems causing the un-creativity of citizens.

The first problem is connected to the general environment of KRG society. Does it encourage creativity? Does it support new ideas and different thinking? These are significant questions which cannot be discussed in a few lines.

The second problem is related to the educational system which should be designed to encourage creative thinking. Children are like fruits trees: they need water, sunshine and care to flourish. Therefore, children need care to enourage their creativity. Additionally, the system should encourage Kurdish citizens to think and create fresh ideas from the first level of education, which is pre-school. Teaching methods should encourage discovering knowledge and developing critical thinking, but instead teachers spoon-feed students with ready materials. Unfortunately, in the KRG’s educational system, the highest marks are given to those students who memorise lessons well.

We can look at Japan’s experience of encouraging creativity. Japan established an institute called the Association for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1905. However, the following year, this institute was reorganised to promote inventiveness and it changed its name to the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII). It encouraged thinking about the development of the country’s economy through science and technology. Therefore, it started to develop and foster the creative and imaginative abilities of students. On its 70th anniversary the institute held its first annual creative contest with 100,000 students participating in Invention Clubs all over Japan. The students have one of two choices in these contests: (1) they follow the year’s specific theme proposed by the organizers; (2) they choose their own theme freely. In either case, the child inventor must submit a model in addition to the design.

It is clear that the KRG is moving fast towards big changes. However, it is vital to take into account the longer-term future of Kurdistan and of its young generation by investing in people. Everything starts with an idea and we can generate thousands of ideas through one idea about solving the problems of un-creativity. It is never too late: as the Persian proverb says, “Whenever you catch a fish from water it will be fresh”.


  1. KRG (2010). KRG statement on Kurdistan Region oil contracts and revenues. Online, last accessed 03/10/13 at: http://www.krg.org/a/d.aspx?a=33405&l=12&s=010000
  3. SKY NEWS (2013). Grand Theft Auto V Pulls In £500m In A Day. Online, last accessed 03/10/13 at: http://news.sky.com/story/1143583/grand-theft-auto-v-pulls-in-500m-in-a-day
  4. Institute of Invention and Innovation (2013). Invention Clubs for Schoolchildren. Online, last accessed 03/10/13 at: http://www.jiii.or.jp/english/promotion/

Ibrahim Anwar was born in 1987 in Mashhad, Iran. He is an assistant lecturer in Business Economic Department, University of Zakho, Kurdistan. He grew up in Iran until he finished high school, and he finished his BSc in Accounting at the University of Duhok in Kurdistan in 2010. He received his MSc in Financial Management from Sheffield Hallam University, UK. After graduation he decided to get back to his place, Kurdistan, and try to help make some changes for it to be a better region. So he decided to write articles and do seminars on different subjects as a way to educate people. He is trying for a true freedom and democracy.