The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBCC) held its Council Meeting, Dinner & Reception for IBBC Members and distinguished guests on 28 January. The Council Meeting, hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan took place in the House of Lords.

Ms Jwan Khioka, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq greets IBBC Members and distinguished guests

The Council Meeting was followed by a Reception & Dinner hosted by Brigadier James Ellery CBE at the Cavalry & Guards Club, where Ms Jwan Khioka, Minister Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq greeted more than 40 guests.

After dinner, Dr Heike Harmgart, Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) elaborated EBRD’s strategy and business plan for the SEMED region, especially highlighting the business opportunities in the Republic of Iraq.

Dr Heike Harmgart, Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), after dinner speaker

The Education, Training and Heritage Sector Table Meeting hosted by IBBC in its London offices on 28th January was attended by representatives from the UK Embassy of the Republic of Iraq, Bath Spa University, the University of Northampton, Stirling Education, UB Holdings, Unihouse Global, the British Council and the IBBC.

The meeting agreed its over-riding objective is to improve education across Iraq, build in-country capacity and facilitate cooperation between Iraq and international, especially UK, universities. The BC confirmed it is continuing to function in Iraq, albeit at a lower activity level with some restrictions to personnel movement. The proposal for senior representatives of UK universities to visit Iraq was well supported, subject to acceptable security, all parties agreed that involvement of relevant ministries in Iraq is essential to  A number of initiatives to encourage Iraq’ entrepreneurs in were presented, including establishing a Tech Hub in Baghdad, run seminars to assist students aiming to study outside Iraq and setting up an alumni network for Iraqi graduates who has studied in UK. It was agreed that the Chevening Programme had been successful and should continue.

A highlight of the meeting was the detailed presentation of Dr Amir Saadati, Strategic Advisor, City & Guilds MENA (Projects) (https://www.cityandguilds.com/) who gave a detailed presentation on the organisations plan to roll out a number of essential training programmes across Iraq in conjunction with IBBC Member Stirling Education.

IBBC Education, Training and Heritage Sector Table Meeting

The Construction and Infrastructure Sector Table met earlier in the day with Jones Lindgren of Perkins and Will in the chair. The main discussion was about current work and opportunities in the water and environment sectors with Brad Moxham of Pell Frischmann and Steve Rowan of Eame, both active in Iraq, leading the discussion.

The IBBC Executive Committee met in the morning of 29th January. The Committee of IBBC Members, reviews IBBCs activities and advises the management of its future planning. After many years of service Alistair Kett of PWC, Hadi Nezir of UB Holding, Hani Akkawi of CCC retired from the committee. The new committee members are John Curtin of EY, Charles Walker of ZHA, Charlie Burbridge of G4S and Sadar Al-Bebany of Sadar Trading Agencies.

IBBC Executive Committee meeting

The Oil & Gas Sector Table Meeting was hosted by IBBC in its London offices On 29th January was attended by representatives from BP, ExxonMobil, SKA, Constellis, Gulftek, Petrofac, Basrah Engineering Group, the UK FCO and the IBBC. There was wide ranging discussion on the current situation in Iraq and its adverse impact on investment in the country, in particular in the oil and gas sector. There was general agreement that more investment is required to maintain current levels of production, and additional investment will be required to increase production and monetise the extensive associated gas reserves currently being flared.

Oil & Gas Sector Table Meeting

By John Lee.

Mr. Mohammad Jaafar Al-Sadr, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in London, has participated in a round-table meeting hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) .

The Ambassador said Iraq welcomes the contribution of British companies to the reconstruction of the country, reviving the Iraqi economy, and providing job opportunities, because “British companies enjoy high experience in various fields, especially in the infrastructure sector, electricity, water, health, and education“.

The meeting was attended by Baroness Emma Nicholson, and board members representing sixteen British companies.

According to a statement from the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Baroness Nicholson “expressed the aspiration of the IBBC and its member companies to work in Iraq in the coming period“.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

By John Lee.

Mr. Mohammad Jaafar Al-Sadr, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in London, has participated in a round-table meeting hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) .

The Ambassador said Iraq welcomes the contribution of British companies to the reconstruction of the country, reviving the Iraqi economy, and providing job opportunities, because “British companies enjoy high experience in various fields, especially in the infrastructure sector, electricity, water, health, and education“.

The meeting was attended by Baroness Emma Nicholson, and board members representing sixteen British companies.

According to a statement from the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Baroness Nicholson “expressed the aspiration of the IBBC and its member companies to work in Iraq in the coming period“.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

IBBC host a roundtable discussion with His Excellency, Mr Jaafar Al-Sadr

On Wednesday 4th December the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a roundtable discussion chaired by IBBC President Baroness Nicholson with Iraq’s newly appointed Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency, Mr Jaafar Al-Sadr, and fellow diplomats Dr Ahmed Al-Nakash and Ms Hanaa Jawad.

The meeting was attended by several IBBC member representatives including from Al Hadeel Al Hassan LLC, Constellis, EAME, Ernst & Young, March Holdings, Mutual Finance Ltd, Perkins & Will, Protechnique, PWC, Rolls Royce, RSK, Shell, Unihouse Global and Xratech.

His Excellency, Mr Al-Sadr introduced himself and opened a constructive discussion on current affairs in Iraq.

Baroness Nicholson, gave a summary of the history of IBBC in Iraq, its membership and the many events and activities it supports Iraq and the UK.

There was a good interactive discussion which identified opportunities for further cooperation between IBBC, its members and the Government of Iraq. Baroness Nicholson noted that the IBBC and its members looked forward to working closely with the Ambassador in the months and years ahead, and HE Al-Sadr expressed his appreciation for the continuing support of IBBC and its many members.

(Source: IBBC)

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)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) took a significant group of members on a trade mission to KRI this week. Paramount was the need to review business opportunities and investment in the region and to learn directly from the Prime Minister Barzani his plans for business and industry.

The group, led by Baroness Nicholson, UK Trade Envoy to Iraq, Christophe Michels MD of IBBC and Eng Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC included representatives from Jaguar LandRover, Crescent Petroleum, EY, Siemens, Sardar Trading Agency, Garda World, Stirling Education, KPMG, G4S, OilServ Kuwait, and from the DIT Mr Rawand Askary, and James Thornton of UK FCO.

The Prime Minister introduced a number of Ministers for discussion with the group, including KRI Minister of Electricity Mr Kamal Mohammad Saleh discussing project finance and other related matters. The DG of the KRIs MoI joint crisis coordination centre Mr Hoshang Mohamed discussed the clearance of IEDs & mines and the handling of the overall IDP and refugee crisis (that G4S have been heavily engaged with).

In conversation, Mr Barzani stated that ‘the KRI government will bring in reforms to cut down on red tape for the private sector to develop. It will pursue a policy of registering companies through a ‘one window’ online portal which should allow company registrations to be done in the same time it takes in western countries to do so. He also said that the new administration is streamlining overall bureaucracy for private businesses to limit unnecessary Government interference.

The Government is also planning to draft a new bribery law to fight corruption and is looking at reviewing its financial framework to encourage PPPs throughout the economy including education and health. Diversification of the economy is big on the agenda with agriculture, tourism and the manufacturing of goods being a priority. KRI should import less and produce more and eventually find markets outside its borders for its products. Foreign partners for all of this are sought after.’

A permanent revenue sharing agreement with Baghdad is top of the agenda among other things to allow credit export agencies to work directly in the KRIG.’

On Sunday the Planning Minister and Mr Amanj Raheem, Cabinet Secretary, Kurdistan Regional Government spoke, and the Ministers for Construction and Electricity attended the British Consulate Reception taking place at the JLR show room kindly sponsored by Sadar Trading Agencies – thanks to Mr Sardar Al-Bebany Chairman and CEO. Dr Dara Al Khayat, Chairman of KRI federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Erbil, hosted a Monday evening event and on Tuesday the mission visited Crescent Petroleum offices.

The trip continued to Baghdad

(Source: IBBC)

Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) fields significant Baghdad meetings with Dr Barham Salih, President of Iraq, and Ambassadors, to strengthen private sector business in Iraq.

IBBC President Baroness Nicholson and MD Christophe Michels, Rasmi Al Jabri, IBBC Deputy Chairman and Mohanad Al Khatab Baghdad Office Manager, met this week with the President Dr Barham Salih and a range of Government of Iraq Ministers and business leaders.

The team updated the President on the work of IBBC and it’s members in Iraq. There followed wide ranging discussions on current affairs in Iraq and internationally. The President was ‘delighted to see IBBC in Baghdad in these challenging times and complimented the organisation for its ongoing and very effective work. He said that he was willing to support IBBC fully whenever required.’

Additional meetings included the Chief of Justice Faik Zidan, to follow up on his recent visit to London when IBBC hosted him, and to discuss the legal framework in Iraq and current affairs.

Dr Sami Al Araji, Head of the National Investment Commission (NIC) also agreed to plan future regular joint activities in Baghdad as the situation returns to normal.

Further meetings included Civil Society activist Mrs Hana to understand the many reasons for the protests and the latest news from Tahir Square and around the country. IBBC expressed sympathy for the movement and discussed ways in which the protest movement could succeed in some of it’s demands without facing a full confrontation with the security forces.

At the US Ambassador Tueller’s residence, the Ambassador, guests and Ambassadors from Canada and Australia and John Tucknot UK Deputy Head of mission, discussed the work of IBBC and how to strengthen collaboration with the US, Canada and Australia, to support the private sector. IBBC is widely recognised as being the most successful trade council in Iraq.

Thanks also to IIB, Al Burhan Group, G4S, Zain and March Group for their support during the visit.

(Source: IBBC)

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has received a delegation from the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) headed by its chairman and the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, Baroness Emma Nicholson.

The two officials discussed strengthening bilateral trade relations between the Kurdistan Region and the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister outlined the government’s plans to modernise the Kurdistan Region’s economy, including through increasing local production and export levels and building up capacity in the service industry.

The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to working with partners such as the Iraq Britain Business Council to develop the Kurdistan Region into a preferred destination for investors.

Baroness Nicholson expressed the UK’s support for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans to diversify its economy and expand its sources of revenue, especially through the new government’s focus on transforming the agriculture and industry sectors.

(Source: KRG)

Baroness Nicholson and IBBC host Deputy speaker to Iraqi parliament and MP’s to discuss business in Iraq.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted a meeting in the Houses of Parliament with Mr Bashar Tawfeeq the Deputy Speaker, Mr Gates Alrikabi in the State of Law block, Mr Hussein Almaliky a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Mr Ahmed Alsaffar from the Kurdish Democratic Party and member of the finance committee.

Topics for discussion included; the state of Iraqi protests, the overall safety of the country and the reasons behind them. This included the need for jobs, political reform and frustration among young people.  With this, Parliament is now keen to speed up change and implement business reforms.

Mr Tawfeeq made a major call for business and investment to come to Iraq, from IBBC members and British business in general. He stated how welcome the British are in Iraq as our legacy from the C20th lives on in infrastructure and buildings, how tax and land can be very low and businesses that come will be very profitable.

He made a pledge to remove as many obstacles as possible to investment, including accelerating reforms to investors, provision of free land and to pay attention to any impediments British companies face.

Members of IBBC shared their concerns and observations on safety and transparency in Iraq, the dominance of the state sector and bureaucracy and the need to undertake banking easily and simply, to facilitate more business. Mr Tawfeeq said the Iraqi Parliament will always investigate concerns and is aware that reform needs to be speeded up.

Baroness Nicholson also expressed the need to enable more women to participate in employment without threat, as most modern economies rely on all the talents in a country to be successful.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

An Iraqi parliamentary delegation headed by Dr. Bashir Khalil Al-Haddad met in London last week with Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

In discussion with members of the Council, they exchanged views on the expansion of foreign investment in Iraq, as well as further cooperation between Iraqi and British private sector companies.

(Source: Iraqi Parliament)