Al-Burhan Group has taken over the management of Baghdad International Airport Hotel in a joint partnership with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA).

The hotel consists of 100 rooms, a fitness centre with sauna and steam room, the hotel also benefits from having a conference Centre, meeting rooms, exhibition space, large landscaped gardens and ample parking. The hotel has been operating for over a decade.

The hotel is in need of major refurbishment works both externally and internally, as well as to its structure. Al-Burhan Group started these works immediately on its managerial takeover on the 13th of October.

Al-Burhan Group plans to make the Baghdad International Airport Hotel a leading hotel within the airport in conjunction with its current facility the Al-Burhan Centre, located just a few minutes away the hotel will primarily house transit passengers, guests of government visiting Baghdad, and we hope in the near future, tourists. The airport will also be used for airlines at positioning overnight crews in Baghdad for their onward flights.

Speaking at a directors meeting, the Managing Director of ABG Mr. Imad Burhan expressed his pleasure in undertaking this new venture and of being given the opportunity to be able to make a positive change to the surroundings of Baghdad International Airport, thus confirming its position as a reliable leader in the hospitality sector.

(Source: Al-Burhan Group)

By Vera Mironova and Mohammed Hussein, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

With ongoing protests making other investors nervous, Moscow is charging ahead.

Despite ongoing protests in Baghdad, which have seen the departure of many foreign diplomats for security concerns, Russia has doubled down.

Not only has its embassy stayed open in the recent weeks of turmoil, but its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov (pictured), also paid a visit last month, first touring Baghdad and then Erbil.

His tour did not look like a regular diplomatic mission. There were no official agreements signed; politics, Syria, and terrorism seemed like an afterthought; and diplomats were in the minority during the week’s events.

In fact, the majority of the participants were businesspeople, including representatives of such Russian oil and gas companies as Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Soyuzneftegaz, and Lukoil.

Also in attendance were representatives of Technopromexport, a Russian company that builds energy facilities, and from Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation.

Click here to read the full story.

See also:

China, Not Iran, Is the Power to Watch in Iraq

By Harith Hasan, for Carnegie Middle East Center. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On November 11, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani received Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the representative in Iraq of the United Nations secretary general.

Sistani welcomed a reform plan proposed by Plasschaert in response to weeks-long protests in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities, and expressed his concern that “respective parties might not be serious about implementing real reforms.”

If those parties “were incapable or unwilling to make the required reforms,” Sistani continued, then “an alternative path should be considered.”

This was the strongest position conveyed by the cleric since the protests began. It led many Iraqis to wonder what the “alternative path” to which Sistani referred might be.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Carnegie Middle East Center)

IBBC hosts largest ever delegation of Iraqi business people at London Business Forum

In a wide-ranging business event over 230 Iraqi business-people and 70 British gathered to meet and discuss Business relations, trade, investment and engagement with the UK’s Business community.

Delegates from all regions of Iraq through the chambers of commerce gathered to hear from representatives of trade associations, IBBC members, chambers of commerce and investors.

Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC, welcomed the new Iraqi Ambassador, H.E. Mr Mohammad Jaafar Al- Sadr, who gave a keynote address at the conference. The Ambassador speech was followed by an address of H.E Mr Karwan Jamal, High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Of note were the panel from Iraqi business people, headed by Dr Dara Jalel Al-Khayat, Chairman of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kurdistan, and representatives from Babil, Baghdad and Basra Chambers, as well as the chair of the Importers and exporters association in Kurdistan.

From the British side, a panel consisting of Rod Dowler of the Industry Forum, Alan Rides MD of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Brigadier James Ellery of Turnkey LLC and Mr Peter Hunt of HWH Associates and Raed Hanna, MD of MFL Finance, all spoke positively of their experiences in Iraq, but tempered with advice on improvements to the Iraqi experience. Finally, Jessica Hao of Crossboundary associates spoke of opportunities to invest in start-ups and SMEs in Iraq with support of USAID.

Key messages included the enthusiasm with which the Iraqis are keen for British Investment into numerous sectors in Iraq, especially Agriculture, Petro Chemicals, Food Processing, Housing and Consumer goods.

The idea of joint ventures with British know how and expertise and Iraqi partners are also suggested as ways to overcome perceptions of risk in the country. However, many delegates all supported the notion that despite the present legitimate protests in many parts of the country overall peace and stability has returned to Iraq following the defeat of DAESH and that the business environment is getting more favourable. Nevertheless, much needs to be done to free up and boost the private sector, an essential step to meet the demands for real jobs and futures of the ever-increasing young Iraqi population.

Following the formal event, the delegates networked extensively with each other and the British contacts in the room.

The group move onto Northampton University, Ardley high tech waste centre, and High-tech leather innovation centre in Northampton University before returning to Iraq.

For more information on the contacts for exports and import opportunities, please contact London@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 14th November 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD646 (+0.2%) / $687 (+0.2%) (weekly change) (-2.0% and -3.2% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 11.3 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD 11.8 bn ($9.7 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Ishtar Hotel (HISH) will hold an AGM on Dec. 4, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial statements. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 20, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2018 annual financial statements.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Bain Al-Nahrain Investment (VMES) starting Nov. 28, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Dec. 3, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial statements.
  • Ameen Al-Iraq Islamic Bank / Mouta for Remittance (MTMO) held an AGM on Nov. 13, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial statements. The company has been suspended from trading since Jan. 21, 2018 until it receives its operation license by the CBI.
  • ISX suspended trading of Iraqi for Seed Production (AISP) starting Nov. 12, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2019 financial statements.

Germany’s MAN Energy Solutions is providing a drink can factory of the Royal Can Making Company (RCMC) in Iraq with six MAN 18V32/40 CD engines, with a total capacity of 53 megawatts (MW).

The recently constructed power plant in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, will supply power to the RCMC manufacturing site and also to other nearby industrial plants.

Waldemar Wiesner, Head of Region MEA (Middle-East Africa), Power Plant Sales, at MAN Energy Solutions, explained:

Iraq is a country in the process of change. After the armed conflicts of the past, the World Bank is forecasting economic growth of 6.5% for this year…

“Providing local businesses with a reliable energy supply is the prerequisite for economic growth in Iraq.

“Our localized power plant solutions ensure the operation of industrial plants and make customers, such as the Royal Can Making Company, independent of the national power grid.

The new power plant guarantees a reliable energy supply for the RCMC drink can factory and therefore enables high utilization of production capacities, as the plant is no longer affected by fluctuations in the national grid. The company manufactures more than two billion drink cans every year.

Increased presence in the Persian Gulf

This year, MAN Energy Solutions has already commissioned two power plants in the Iraqi cities of Samawah and Basra.

We are proud that the Royal Can Making Company is another customer from the Persian Gulf region which is relying on energy solutions provided by MAN Energy Solutions. In total, we are now supplying more than 200 MW of power to rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” said Wiesner.

(Source: MAN Energy Solutions)

By John Lee.

On Sunday, the UN issued the following statement on the crisis facing Iraq:

Over the past weeks, demonstrations erupted in Baghdad and other governorates in Iraq. Protester demands cover a wide spectrum of issues, including economic growth and employment, reliable public services, prudent and impartial governance, an end to corruption, credible elections as well as broader reform of the political system – including amendments to the constitution.

An accumulation of frustrations about the lack of progress in the last 16 years is clearly perceptible, and with rising numbers of deaths and injured (both protesters and members of the Iraqi Security Forces) a climate of anger and fear has set in. The Iraqi people cannot afford to be held back by the past nor by partisan interests.

Rising hope asks for a leap forward, including the understanding that – in today’s digital age – daily life has moved online. Meanwhile, the risk of ‘spoilers’ hijacking peaceful demonstrations is increasing and potentially derailing any attempt at genuine change. Time is therefore of the essence, as are tangible results.

To start with, and following consultations with a wide range of Iraqi parties, actors and authorities (including the three Presidencies, the Supreme Judicial Council, protesters and union representatives), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) proposes the following principles and measures:

PRINCIPLES

The following principles apply to all parties at all times:

  1. Protect the right to life above all.
  2. Guarantee the right to peaceful assembly, demonstration and freedom of expression,
    as granted in the constitution.
  3. Practice maximum restraint in the handling of the protests, including no use of live ammunition, ban the improper use of non-lethal devices (such as tear gas canisters).
  4. Deliver full accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims.
  5. Act in keeping with the law, including in regard to public and private properties.

MEASURES

Immediate measures (less than a week) include:

  1. Release all peaceful demonstrators detained since 1 October, in accordance with the law.
  2. No peaceful demonstrators shall be targeted.
  3. Initiate full investigation of cases of abduction (including by making available CCTV footage), and reveal the identity of those responsible.
  4. Accelerate the identification and prosecution of those responsible for targeting demonstrators.
  5. Prosecute and punish those responsible for the excessive use of force and/or other violent acts, in accordance with the law.
  6. Publicly call on all regional and international parties not to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs, respecting its sovereignty.

Short term measures (within one week to two weeks) include:

  1. Electoral reform: With the technical support of the UN, a single legal framework shall be finalized. Soon after, the framework shall be submitted to the Council of Representatives (CoR). The parliamentary procedure shall be completed as soon as possible.
  2. Security Sector Reform: Executive Order 237 shall be fully implemented without delay. Any weapons outside state control shall be prohibited. Any outlaw armed entity or rogue element shall be considered illegal and it is the state’s responsibility to take them on.
  3. Corruption: The political elite shall lead by example, for instance by publicly declaring their assets – at home and abroad, held under their own name or another. Additionally, political parties/blocs and movements shall abolish their economic committees.

Medium term measures (within one to three months) include:

  1. Constitution: With the technical support of the UN, the Constitutional Review Committee shall continue its work. Any amendment to the constitution shall be put to referendum by the people of Iraq.
  2. Corruption: The Commission of Integrity shall submit corruption cases to the High Judicial Council or the Central Anti-Corruption Court. The Central Anti-Corruption Court shall handle corruption cases at all levels of the state. All corrupt officials will be held accountable and prosecuted.
  3. Enactment of laws: The Government shall send the following draft laws to the CoR, and the CoR shall complete its due process as soon as possible:
    1. A law addressing the principle: ‘Where did you get this from?
    2. The Federal Court Law
    3. The Social Security Law
    4. Law on resolving the Housing Crisis
    5. The Oil and Gas (Hydrocarbon) Law
    6. Amending the Law on Encouraging Investments and Public-Private Sector Partnership
    7. The Council of Ministers and Ministries Law
    8. The Reconstruction Council Law

(Source: UNAMI)

By John Lee.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has announced the resumption of its direct services between Bahrain and Erbil in Iraq; further strengthening the airline’s existing Iraqi routes of Baghdad and Najaf.

The airline’s services to Erbil will commence on 02 February 2020, and will see Gulf Air’s three weekly flights between Bahrain International Airport and Erbil International Airport operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft.

(Source: Gulf Air)

By Saad Salloum for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Shiite protesters get broad backing throughout Iraq

The crowd in Baghdad’s Mohammed al-Qasim Street on Oct. 31 was not caused solely by a street vendor selling Iraqi flags for 1,000 dinars (less than $1).

The street, the longest highway that wraps around the perimeter of Baghdad, had never seen so many flags flying from the windows of every passing car, in a show of great solidarity among Iraqis.

The vendor smiled as he told Al-Monitor, “So far, I have sold more than 1,000 flags and it’s not even 2 p.m.”

Click here to read the full story.

By Gilgamesh Nabeel for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

October brought bad news to Iran, as popular demonstrations in Baghdad and Beirut continued, signaling a potential threat to its dominance over the Shiite Crescent.

Anti-Iran sentiments have been a staple of Iraq’s protests since Oct. 25. Tens of thousands of Iraqi protesters view Iran as the main source of the country’s instability.

Protesters wielding Molotov cocktails attacked the Iranian Consulate in Karbala, home to several Shiite shrines, on the evening of Nov. 3.

Click here to read the full story.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)