The Iraqi Parliament Security and Defence Committee has rejected the draft amendments to the Nationality Law.

Committee Chairman Adnan Al-Asadi said in a statement that “the proposed amendments allow foreigners married to Iraqi women as well as unmarried foreigners who live in Iraq for only one year to apply for the Iraqi citizenship … These simple terms such as the length of stay and marriage to foreigners are rejected by most countries.”

Al-Asadi added that the amendments also give the interior minister the powers to grant citizenship, which in most countries are held by the head of state, prime minister or the house of representatives.

The Parliament Committee of Labor and Social Affairs, Migration and Displaced Persons called to reject the proposed amendments and to hold those who contributed to introducing them accountable.

“We reject these amendments, and the person who introduced them wanted to consolidate the interests of other countries and certain parties,” said Raad Al-Dahlaki, the committee’s interim chairman told the Anadolu Agency.

He stressed that “the Iraqi Nationality Law in force (No. 26 of 2006) is good and authentic, and grants citizenship to those who lived in Iraq for at least ten years in addition to other requirements that take into consideration international standards.”

“There is a majority in the parliament who agree not to pass the new amendments,” Al- Dahlaki said.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

EU-funded programme launched in Iraq to support recovery and stability through local development

The European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) continue to work together to help the people of Iraq in their pursuit of recovery and stability.

On 28 March 2019, representatives of federal and local authorities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations, businesses, academia, as well as implementing partners, gathered in the city of Basra, South of Iraq, to launch a new programme.

With EU funding of €47.5 million over 4 years, the programme aims at supporting the implementation of local priority actions, derived from the Provincial Development Plans and the Sustainable Energy Action Plans developed under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP II), that address the top priorities of each governorate and pilot ways to translate policy into practice.

In addition, supporting the decentralization of powers from central to local authorities, including through the development of institutional capacities, the optimization of revenue generation systems, peer-to-peer partnerships with EU local authorities, the empowerment of civil society to advocate for local development causes, mobilization of additional resources, and improvement of donor coordination will be part of the activities.

Minister of Planning at the Federal Government of Iraq, Dr. Nouri Al Dulaimi, said:

“Iraqi communities are eager to recover after years of conflict and instability. And, we are doing our utmost to address their needs. Development at the local level is a step in the right direction. We are grateful that the EU, UNDP and UN-Habitat stand right by us in this difficult time.”

Governor of Basra, Mr. Asaad Al Eidani, stated:

“The people of Basra and other governorates across our country have rightful demands. They need adequate public services, plenty of jobs, and all the help they can get to build a better life for them and their children. We are committed to working closely with our government, local communities, and partners to maximize the impact of this new EU-funded programme and may be replicate with our own funds.”

Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ambassador Ramon Blecua, said:

“The European Union is strongly committed to assist the Government of Iraq in its efforts to shape a more inclusive and accountable local development. This new EU-funded program will ensure better services and livelihoods opportunities for the Iraqi population, responding to the urgent needs affecting Basra and other Governorates across the country.”

Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Marta Ruedas, reiterated:

“Creating job opportunities, improving living conditions, upgrading public services, and integrating eco-friendly practices are some of our top priorities when it comes to local development in Iraq. Women and youth are an integral part in this process. The EU support represents a lifeline for communities struggling to make ends meet, as well as to promote good governance at the local level.”

Head of UN-Habitat Iraq, a.i., Ms. Yuko Otsuki, thanked the European Union for its generous contribution to the urban recovery in Iraq, and stated:

“UN-Habitat will implement priority urban recovery activities, such as the rehabilitation of housing, schools, and public spaces, repairs to secondary infrastructure, job creation, skill enhancement, and revenue generation.”

Ms. Otsuki assured that UN-Habitat is committed to continue working, to promote recovery, resilience and reconstruction in Iraq.

The programme will help the Government of Iraq to strengthen the efficiency of the country’s institutions and renew the social contract between citizens and the state. It revolves around improving the ability of selected governorates to efficiently manage local government and public services. Economic growth and job creation are prioritized, with a focus on green projects involving youth and women, in addition to enhancing the living conditions of returnees and in conflict affected areas.

Building upon the momentum created by the recently concluded LADP II, the programme will be implemented in the following nine Governorates: Anbar, Basra, Duhok, Erbil, Missan, Ninewah, Salah al-Din, Sulaimaniyah, and Thi Qar.

(Source: UN)

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Will Iraq lose its benefits from Shatt al-Arab River to Iran?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Baghdad March 11 to endorse the two countries’ renewed commitment to the 1975 Algiers Agreement regarding the shared border of the Shatt al-Arab River. The agreement has sat idle for decades, as Iraq has attempted to evade what it sees as unfair terms.

However, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi last week signed a number of economic accords with the Iranian president that address the following issues: entry visas for citizens of both countries, raising the value of trade exchange, railway connections and demarcation of the water borders as per the Algiers Agreement, which was first signed when the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was in power and Saddam Hussein was vice president.

But the recommitment to the agreement has sparked fears among media commentators, water resource specialists and political factions in Iraq that the country will lose out on benefits from the Shatt al-Arab.

Click here to read the full story.

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

Pro-Iran factions are pushing for the move just as the Islamic State is starting to hit back.

Momentum is building among deputies in the Iraqi parliament to oust U.S. troops entirely from the country—an outcome that would leave Iraq’s political future in the hands of neighboring Iran and leave its citizens more vulnerable to the Islamic State.

Today, the United States fields an estimated 5,200 troops in Iraq. They are there as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist, and support that country’s troops in the fight against the Islamic State.

But the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote soon on draft laws calling for a full withdrawal. For now, things don’t look good for the troops.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Ride-sharing services Uber, from the United States, and Careem of Dubai, have reached an agreement for Uber to acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, consisting of $1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash. The acquisition of Careem is subject to applicable regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.

Uber will acquire all of Careem’s mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Upon closing, Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, preserving its brand. Careem co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha will lead the Careem business, which will report to its own board made up of three representatives from Uber and two representatives from Careem. Careem and Uber will operate their respective regional services and independent brands.

Established in July 2012, Careem operates in 120 cities across 15 countries and has created more than one million economic opportunities in the region.

Careem entered the Iraqi market in January 2018.

(Source: Uber)

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

The Iraqi security forces have expanded their operations to track down members of the Islamic State (IS) in the vast Western Desert.

The security forces, however, have yet to reach an integrated strategy to confront IS in these lands, which stretch along Iraq’s borders with three countries and are located near key Sunni and Shiite cities.

The sub-governor of the city of al-Ratba in west Anbar, Emad al-Dulaimi, confirmed March 13 that an IS member killed a resident who was kidnapped while picking truffles more than two weeks ago in the desert.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Baghdad has again been ranked as the city with the world’s worst quality of living, according to the Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Survey.

Just ahead of it in the table of 231 cities are Bangui in the Central African Republic and Sana’a in Yemen.

Vienna again retains the top spot; Zurich and Vancouver follow in second and third places, respectively.

Mercer evaluates local living conditions according to 39 different factors.

More information here.

(Source: Mercer)

Iraq’s Ministry of Planning and the Council of Ministers Secretariat, together with UN-Habitat, publicly launched the National Platform for Reconstruction and Development.

For more than one year, UN-Habitat has been working very closely with the Ministry of Planning to develop and finalize the Platform, with generous funding support from the Iraq UNDAF Trust Fund, which is a multi-donor trust fund.

The Platform provides up-to-date key information on reconstruction and development projects. It is a web-based GIS data system that contains analytical reports, statistical data for projects, as well as interactive maps of projects locations. By sharing project information, the Platform will enable relevant actors to avoid duplication and coordinate for better planning.

Now accessible to public and with interactive window, the Platform will also allow the Government of Iraq to receive feedback from its citizens on the reconstruction and development projects, helping to build trust between the Government and people.

H.E. Dr. Mahdi Al-Allaq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, stated that “the Platform will advance delivery of the commitments made at the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq”.

H.E. Dr. Noori Al-Dulaimi, Minister of Planning, commented that “through the Platform, projects will be managed in a transparent manner and monitored by the international community”.

Ms. Marta Ruedas, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator, stated that the Platform provides an overview of the projects implemented, and enables evidence-based planning and decision making.

The Data Platform is accessible at: https://mnpcd.gov.iq/

(Source: UN)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that Shire Oak International has become the latest organisation to join the Council.

Shire Oak International is the first organisation with a primary focus on Renewable Energy to join the IBBC.

Shire Oak International is a developer and financier of large-scale renewable energy projects in developing countries and emerging economies. Its core mission is to be a global pathfinder in devising, implementing and spreading renewable energy solutions to drive transformational change in the rate of adoption of renewable energy in the developing world.

In line with this mission – as of October 2018 – the company is advancing 3.7GW of renewable energy projects to be operational in the coming 3-5 years. Beyond this initial suite of projects, the company is validating a further potential 5-6GW to be operational by 2030, a total of over 9GW in 13-15 countries. While the projects and country portfolios are different in many ways, they face common challenges.

Shire Oak International aims to provide a suite of development and financing solutions to surmount these challenges in order to bend the emissions curve in globally important energy markets. Innovative blended finance structures, which combine public and private funds, will be deployed.

Shire Oak International will bring significant expertise in the renewable energy sector to the IBBC, which brings exciting future possibilities to Iraq and its people.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that Shire Oak International has become the latest organisation to join the Council.

Shire Oak International is the first organisation with a primary focus on Renewable Energy to join the IBBC.

Shire Oak International is a developer and financier of large-scale renewable energy projects in developing countries and emerging economies. Its core mission is to be a global pathfinder in devising, implementing and spreading renewable energy solutions to drive transformational change in the rate of adoption of renewable energy in the developing world.

In line with this mission – as of October 2018 – the company is advancing 3.7GW of renewable energy projects to be operational in the coming 3-5 years. Beyond this initial suite of projects, the company is validating a further potential 5-6GW to be operational by 2030, a total of over 9GW in 13-15 countries. While the projects and country portfolios are different in many ways, they face common challenges.

Shire Oak International aims to provide a suite of development and financing solutions to surmount these challenges in order to bend the emissions curve in globally important energy markets. Innovative blended finance structures, which combine public and private funds, will be deployed.

Shire Oak International will bring significant expertise in the renewable energy sector to the IBBC, which brings exciting future possibilities to Iraq and its people.

(Source: IBBC)