IBBC Autumn conference in Dubai attracts deep engagement and discussion of the Protests

Over 100 attendees of largely Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members engaged in deep discussions and conversational at the Autumn Conference in Dubai this weekend.

As a backdrop to the protest and conflict in Iraq, speakers and delegates articulated the causes, solutions and reforms required to improve the situation in Iraq.

Distinguished speakers included H.E Mr Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, under-secretary Foreign Trade and Industry UAE Ministry of Economy, Dr Dara Rashid, senior deputy minister of housing construction and municipalities GOI, Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, deputy Minister of Transport and Mr Simon Penney- HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, along with Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Key panels included Middle East, economic trends and prospects – with particular reference to Iraq – lead by Professor Frank Gunter, Prof Economics Lehigh University –his presentation, outlining the underlying economic issues in Iraq can be found here IBBC Dubai 1Dec19 (2)

Joining him were Dr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, Simon Penney and Dr Dara Rashid – while the outlook for Iraq currently looks bleak, there was a marked degree of optimism on the panel, as the protests and prospective new government are seen as a potential spur to reform and change for the better.

Mr Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC observed:

“Following meetings with leaders of the protest movement in Baghdad last month, and despite the fact that the protests themselves led to a severe disruption of the work of most businesses, the protest movement is led by a multitude of civil society organisations who consist mostly of very young women and men, inspired by hope for the future of the country.  It transcends religious, sectarian, class and gender barriers and appears to be crystallising into a new form of Iraqi nationalism.”

Other panels covered Power, John Scott of IBBC chaired GE, Crescent Petroleum and Uruk engineering.

Infrastructure and Water – with a stunning presentations by Mr Hussam Chakouf of Zaha Haddid Architects, Dr Rashid and Mr Sean Gamble MD of RSK, who are undertaking significant environmental clean- up and land reclamation projects across Iraq and particularly in the oil fields around Basra.

Transport and Logistics, chaired by Ms Beverly Simpson Director of Department for International Trade at the British Embassy Baghdad, with Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Jason Sutcliffe of Rolls Royce and Mr Phil Marsham CEO of Basra Gateway.

Alongside the conference a special newly active Women’s group, led by Samer Athamer of AMS Iraq and Agne Abramauskaite of IBBC which discussed the empowerment of women and development of careers, and a dedicated afternoon to the Tech Forum – an increasingly dynamic new member group, dedicated to promoting Tech in Iraq – Sponsored by Innovest, investors in Iraqi Start-ups, and led by CEO Mr Bassam Falah. The forum was  chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC and ably supported by Mr Mohammed Khudairi of Iraqtechventures, with Mr Chris Ferguson Director and lead of UK Government Digital services, and Mr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, this panel discussed how to encourage the GOI to develop more and faster Tech initiatives and infrastructural support for Start ups and the Tech Ecology in Iraq, and to form a group within IBBC to develop these initiatives further – Second panel ( Educational Tech ) included Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education, whose team showcased their distance learning platform that is being trialled in their Iraqi schools, and is expected to be available to all schools in Iraq and beyond, ably supported by Mr Chris Ferguson with HMG UK examples of Educational tech, and Mr Hamilton of DFID.

IBBC is most grateful to the following sponsors, without whom we would not be able to hold these important events: Rolls Royce, Khudairi group and Severn Glocon group as Conference sponsors, and Basra Gateway terminal as reception sponsors, and Innovest as key Tech Forum and conference sponsors.

For more information please contact: london@webuildiraq.org or Telephone: 0207 222 7100

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is delighted to be holding a Tech forum within the main Conference at Address Hotel in Dubai on December 8th.

Principal among the speakers are Mr Yassin Bhija of GE Healthcare and Mr Uwe Bork of Siemens Healthcare who are driving the healthtech panel – exploring the hot topic of ‘How best to Develop primary and general healthcare in Iraq.’

Iraq has structural and tactical issues in providing universal healthcare at all levels of delivery and in all locations and classes. The two leading healthcare companies will discuss how tech solutions in general can address the issue and how their particular capabilities contribute to the general provision of healthcare.

Following on the Education Tech panel, will be discussing ‘The importance of Digital literacy in Iraq’, led by Google’s Mr Martin Roeke, Dr Victoria Lindsay of the British Council and Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education.

The Forum is sponsored by Innovest Middle East, an investment company that invests in startups during their scaling up stage in key markets in the Middle East region. With representations in Lebanon, Dubai, KSA, and Iraq, Innovest Middle East has played a key role in driving the startup ecosystem through direct investments as well as through supporting incubation and acceleration platforms collaboration with governmental and international bodies. In Iraq, Innovest Middle East launched IRAQPRENEURS in 2018, in collaboration with the World Bank, Central Bank of Iraq and leading private organizations, which grew to become one of the leading nationwide entrepreneurship empowerment platform in Iraq.

Mr Bassam Falah, CEO of Innovest will be addressing the delegates on the progress in support of the Iraqi start up ecology.

More speakers are expected to confirm.

For more information and to register, please contact london@webuildiraq.org.

(Source: IBBC)

From Peace to prosperity:

The Conference to find out what’s happening for Iraq business.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Autumn Conference in Dubai on December 8th is set against a backdrop of relative peace and security in Iraq, and the prospect of oil revenues surging through the economy is driving a wider range of business opportunities and a prospective 8% increase in GDP.

Peace is enabling the economy to diversify through the revenues that pay for a range of infrastructure projects. So this Autumn we are focusing on a range of sectors set to benefit from a stable Iraq: namely, Water, Transport and Logistics, Energy and Tech.

The recent protests have also spurred on Government reforms and incentives to drive employment, entrepreneurship and service diversity, and increase the volume of opportunity that lies ahead and the prospects for not just business-to-business but also a burgeoning consumer market.

The Iraqi Electricity Minister will likely be speaking about his reforms to open up the market to SME’s, training and new players. Other ministers including those from Construction and Transport are attending.

The recent announcement of a 10year tax-free period for SMEs in Iraq will also stimulate the Tech entrepreneur market and drive the uptake of engineering skills.

At this conference, we will discuss big-picture economics with Professor Frank Gunter (Lehigh University), Ahmed Tabaqchali (AFC Iraq Fund), and Simon Penny (UK Trade & Investment), who will address the economic backdrop in the Middle East, and the context for Iraq in particular.

The World Bank and Wood Plc will cover the water sector, while Rolls Royce, Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT), and Menzies will look at transport and logistics, and Iraq’s Electricity Minister, GE, Siemens and Enka will focus on energy.

Alongside the conference our Tech Forum brings experts on HealthTech and Educational Tech, including speakers from GE, Siemens Healthcare, KPMG, EY, Google and the British Council, among others.

While key opportunities will be outlined, the real opportunity for business is to meet the people directly involved in contracts and supply-chain opportunities. This is the place to do business, to network and to find out what’s happening in the Middle East’s most potentially dynamic market that is Iraq.

For further information and to find the latest updates on speakers – more are expected – please contact  london@webuildiraq.org or visit the website to register for tickets.


The year it’s all on the up…

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to be an official partner of Chatham House’s “Iraq in Transition” conference on the 2nd and 3rd October. The event was held by the Chatham House Iraq Initiative, led by Dr Renad Mansour.

On Thursday the 3rd of October the President of IBBC, Baroness Nicholson, chaired a working group on private sector development. The working group also consisted of a speech by Zaid Elyaseri, country Manager of IBBC Founder Member BP.

This first Chatham House Iraq Initiative conference was a huge success and well attended by the private sector, NGOs, universities, Iraqi and British Government officials, the media and representatives of the UN and the EU. IBBC was delighted that one of their member companies Crescent Petroleum, was the main sponsor of the event and to see so many of its members and members of the IBBC Young Executive Network attending.



(Source: IBBC)

Iraq’s Rehabilitation Continues: Find out More at Basra Megaprojects Conference

The summer months have seen Iraq continue with its quota-busting production run. According to figures from S&P Global Platts, the country added another 10,000 barrels per day in July, taking output to 4.78 million bpd, leaving it 270,000 bpd over its OPEC compliance target, due to higher crude exports from its southern terminals. Once again, it seems, Iraq is a force to be reckoned with in the global oil markets.

If the south of the country is Iraq’s oil and gas powerhouse, then Basra is its engine. The region is home to 70 per cent of the country’s natural gas and 60 per cent of its crude oil reserves, including supergiant fields such as Rumaila, Majnoon, Zubair and West Qurna I and II. With its sea ports, Basra is also the main export gateway for the country’s oil and gas riches, making it of vital strategic importance and the focus of much-needed investment to unplug the midstream bottlenecks that could undermine future production growth.

The world’s biggest oil companies have already partnered with Iraqi firms to optimise the performance of Basra’s supergiant fields. It is now more than a decade since the Ministry of Oil signed agreements with Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil, Eni and other early entrants to rehabilitate and revamp the southern fields, which are key to the country hitting its longer-term production goal of 7.5 million bpd.

Meeting what currently looks like a stretch target will require significant investment in midstream infrastructure. The good news is that this work is already underway: earlier this year the Ministry of Oil announced plans to press ahead with the US$5 billion Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline project with capacity of 1 million bpd. The line will take oil from the Rumaila oilfields to the port of Aqaba on the Red Sea.  Downstream work is underway to increase domestic refining capacity; despite its oil riches, the country is heavily dependent on refined product imports, partly due to damaged or neglected refining assets and partly due to a misalignment between the product yield of existing refineries and its domestic needs.

Those keen to learn more about the opportunities in Basra as it rebuilds for a brighter future would do well to attend the 6th Basra Megaprojects – Oil, Gas & Environment Conference, which will once again take place in Istanbul, Turkey on 22-23 October 2019. Held under the patronage of the Governorate of Basra, the Basra Council and Basra Oil Company, this is the place to meet key officials and industry leaders to discover new commercial opportunities, the latest policy developments and network with the movers and shakers of this oil and gas hotspot. The event is sponsored by: Chevron, Shell, Crescent Petroleum, ILF Consulting Engineers, GardaWorld, Al-Barham Group and ENKA, all of which will have senior representatives meeting with attendees throughout the 2 days.

Of course, when it comes to mega-projects, it’s not just oil and gas infrastructure that needs investment. The region also faces a water crisis, with four million people in Basra province deemed “water insecure” by humanitarian agencies (and 180,000 hospitalised in August 2018 as a result of contaminated water) as the vital Shatt al-Arab river has suffered from reduced flow, sea water intrusion, pollution and mismanagement.

The Basra Megaprojects Conference will bring together professionals from around the world to share their knowledge and best working practices, discuss the changing face of environmental policy in Iraq and how private companies involved in mega-projects can contribute to a more sustainable future for Iraq. As part of this drive, the event will host the CWC Basra Environmental Awards to celebrate those who have implemented sustainable projects in the oil, gas, power and water sectors, with the winner announced during the Awards Dinner on Tuesday 22nd October 2019.

For anyone with an interest in Iraq’s oil, gas and water mega-projects and the investment and regulatory framework needed to build a more prosperous, sustainable and secure future, the Basra Megaprojects Conference is the strategic gateway into the south of Iraq and not to be missed.

Find out more at: http://www.cwcbasraoilgas.com/

(Source: CWC)

By John Lee.

The Jordanian-Iraqi Forum on digital transformation in the financial sector was held on Wednesday in Baghdad.

It was organized as part of the partnership between Jordan’s Information and Communications Technology Association (int@j), the Jordanian-Iraqi Economic Association, the Iraq Private Banks League, and the International Finance Corporation, and saw the participation of 30 Jordanian IT companies.

Through the forum, int@j aims to assist Jordanian IT companies enter the Iraqi market.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors at int@j, Dr. Bashar Hawamdeh, said that the company’s role in organizing the forum is part of their efforts to bolster networking among Jordanian companies and Iraqi banks and others operating in the financial sector. int@j’s role in organizing the forum comes as well amidst efforts to enable Jordanian companies to offer their expertise in digital transformation and technology to Iraqi sectors more broadly, particularly considering there exists an urgent need on the Iraqi side to implement digital transformation projects.

Dr. Hawamdeh noted that the Iraqi market is an important market to Jordanian companies, as those companies possess significant expertise in systems building and management. He added that Jordanian companies have been instrumental in developing e-governance for states in the region and have assisted in building systems that serve digital transformation.

He added that the forum is an opportune time for Jordanian companies to explore opportunities related to cooperation and sharing of expertise, especially considering the faith the Iraqi market has in Jordanian expertise in all areas.

The following Jordanian companies are taking part in the forum: Access 2 Arabia, Bridges PR and Events, Globitel, Green Circle Co., Hayyan Horizons, MenalTech, HyperPay, MadfooatCom, Jordan Payments and Clearing Company (JoPACC), Middle East Payment Services (MEPS), and Quality Business Solutions.

Also participating in the conference are: Real Soft Advanced Applications, Sidra Electronic Payment Software, Synaptic Technologies, Trismart, VTEL Holdings, dot.Jo, Jordan Data Systems, Takamol, ProgressSoft, Al Bayanat Al-Raqamiah for Information Technology, Image Technologies (ITECJ), OPTIMIZA, Oracle, Jordan Systems Consulting Co, OFFTEC, Dell, KPMG Jordan, Virtual/Al-Nayi for Informational and Communications Consulting, and Mawdoo3.com.

(Source: int@j)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

A major petroleum conference in London has been told that more than 200 British companies now operating in Iraq, and those numbers are increasing.

Addressing more than 300 delegates at CWC‘s Iraq Petroleum conference, British Ambassador Jonathan Wilks CMG said:

“The UK and Iraq are becoming increasingly strong business partners and education partners, and London is becoming as it once was, the second home for many Iraqis. The number of Iraqis visiting the UK is increasing, so if you hear of difficulties getting, visas this is exaggerated.”

Looking to the current climate in Iraq, Ambassador Wilks added:

I am more than glass-half-full; the positives in Iraq right now, the dynamics, the sustainability of security improvements and economic improvements are really the best we have seen for many many years.

“We now have the best [Iraqi] government that we’ve had since 2003 … This is an extremely good time to be working in Iraq.

There can be no doubting Iraq’s oil credentials. It is Opec’s number two oil producer, second only to Saudi Arabia, and holds the world’s fifth-largest proved oil reserves. Production is on the rise, having nearly doubled over the past decade, averaging around 4.5 million barrels per day in 2018.

Almost 90 per cent of the country’s output comes from giant oilfields in the southern part of the country. The remainder is largely pumped from oilfields in the northeast, in the semiautonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), which is under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

This is good news for a country that is heavily dependent on revenues from its oil exports, which, according to the IMF, accounted for almost 90 per cent of total government revenues in 2017. The rise in oil prices, despite recent wobbles in the face of US-China trade tensions, has certainly been a boost to the country’s coffers and provides further impetus for investment in development and infrastructure.

This upwards trajectory is likely to continue as the country seeks to fill the supply gap left by new US sanctions on Iran. Iraq is keen to lift production capacity to 5 million bpd this year, and to 8.5 million bpd in the coming years as it upgrades its infrastructure. The southern oilfields are key to this growth, expected to pump some 6.5 million bpd in the coming years, with the country keen to partner with international oil companies (IOCs) to secure the necessary investment to unlock its vast resource potential.

Iraq’s growing importance as a key player on the world’s energy stage will be discussed at the upcoming CWC two-day event, Iraq Petroleum, which will be held in London on June 27-28 in collaboration with the new Federal Government of Iraq. For the first time, the event is being co-located with the one-day Kirkuk & Mosul Mega-Projects event on June 29, where delegates will be first to hear government plans and investment opportunities to develop the giant oilfields in the newly liberated oil-rich areas of Kirkuk and Mosul.

The three-day event brings together key figures shaping the future of this strategically important country. The Iraqi ministerial delegation will be led by H.E. Thamir Gadbhan, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy & Minister of Oil along with the heads of the Basra Oil Company and North Oil Company, while the international oil industry is well represented, with confirmed speakers including Michael Townshend, Regional President of BP Middle East, Jeffrey T. Levy, President of Chevron Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East E&P, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, and Gati Saadi Al-Jebouri, Managing Director of LUKOIL Mid-East Limited.

It’s not just oil that’s creating new investment opportunities for international partners. Oslo-based energy consultancy Rystad Energy forecasts that in terms of resoruces sanctioned for development, gas will overtake oil projects in 2019, with new projects, mainly in the Kurdistan Region, set to triple the country’s gas output from just over 1 billion cubic feet per day in 2017 to 3 billion cf/d in 2022, enabling it to meet growing domestic demand for gas and possibly even launch the country as a gas exporter for the first time. Again, it’s a topic that will be widely covered at CWC’s Iraq Petroleum event, including presentations from Dr Jaafar Oklany, commercial director of Basra Gas Company and Ali H. Khudhier Al-Saady, former director general of South Gas Company, Basra.

For anyone with an interest in Iraq’s future, and indeed the stability of the world energy mix, this is one event not to be missed.

For further information, visit https://www.cwciraqpetroleum.com/

For full programme, download the brochure

(Source: CWC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held Iraq’s first International Tech Conference in Baghdad at the Babylon Rotana Baghdad Hotel on 30 April, hosting government ministers, private industry, entrepreneurs, investors, and representatives from the leading UK and Iraq Tech companies.

The purpose of the Conference was to drive confidence, investment and awareness of the power of the new tech economy and how it can benefit Iraq.

The event – Iraq Tech Conference – was led by Ashley Goodall, IBBC’s Marketing Adviser. Keynote addresses were given by H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Mr Ashraf Al Dahan, Chairman of the CMC Board of Commissioners.

The agenda for the day comprised four panels: Consumer Tech panel, E-Government Panel, Business Fintech and a Consumer Fintech Panel.

Fintech in particular is making strides forward with the blessing of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), as Mr Waleed Eidi, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank, explained and encouraged the adoption of steps to include Women, those excluded from banking and the digital economy and young people.

The CBI is being ambitious in encouraging banks and financial institutions to modernise and offer new ways to distribute the flow of funds for investment and those who need it. This will also have a big impact on the overall economy and growth.

Ahmed Elkady of EY echoed the importance of Fintech as he led the Consumer FinTech Panel discussion onto technical infrastructure and what needs to happen to grow the opportunity for financial transactions. He was ably supported by National Bank of Iraq’s Eyad Mahmoud and Roger Abboud of Arab Payment Systems – who are modernising banking transactions – and Douglas Way of Almaseer Insurance – who are enabling business to reduce risks and transact insurance products rapidly and scalably.

The conference also embodied eight presentations:

  • “How technology is driving the business and consumer world in Iraq and Internationally” by Zain Iraq;
  • Online Literacy” by Dr Victoria Lindsay, Country Director – Iraq for the British Council;
  • Automating & digitising BP and Iraq” by Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager-Iraq for BP;
  • Restrata Product Announcement” by Botan Osman, CEO for Restrata;
  • “Five One Labs” by Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs;
  • Blockchain and AI – The Future Talk” by Muhana Almrahleh, Director – Head of Information Technology Advisory for KPMG (Jordan); and,
  • How Re:Coded are Training the Next Generation of Technology Leaders in Iraq” by Zahra Shah, Country Manager-Iraq for Re:Coded.

Attendees were able to enjoy one-to-one meetings and conversations.

As part of the Tech Conference on April 30, IBBC hosted an Evening Reception for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups at The Station, Baghdad, the evening prior on 29 April. The evening, planned in partnership with Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet, showcased the growing tech community in the country and gave an outstanding platform for some of the leading start-ups and entrepreneurs in a more informal setting.

The participating start-ups pitched their business in 5 minutes to a panel of seven judges composed by: Mohammed Khudairi, Managing Partner of Khudairi Group and Founder of Iraq Tech Ventures; Hal Miran, CEO of MSelect and Founder of Bite.Tech and TechHub; Richard Greer, Venture Capital Investor in Asia, Middle East, & UK and Philanthropist in Northern Iraq; Zahra Shah, Iraq Country Manager for Re:Coded; Ali Ismail, Co-Founder of Fikraspace and Co-Founder & Partner of Solo Creative Studio; Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs and Maryam Allami, Advisor for Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Through this first international Tech Conference in Iraq, IBBC aims to provide a foundation, a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

More than 100 guests gathered at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad on Tuesday to attend Iraq’s first Tech Conference.

Hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and chaired by Ashley Goodall, the event brought together the leading companies involved in the technology sector in Iraq to discuss how the power of the tech economy can benefit the country.

Among the many speakers and contributors during the day, Mohammed Khudairi of Iraq Tech Ventures emphasised the need to create the right environment for innovative companies, adding:

“We want to create a cluster of inovation as they’ve done in San Francisco, as they’ve done in London, and in many other places around the world; Iraq has the skillset, the talent and the motivation to make this happen, and has a great path ahead of it over the coming years.”

Patricia Letayf of Five One Labs discussed the changes they’re working to bring about in Iraq:

“When you hear the word “Iraq” we want you to think of start-ups and innovation … we want Iraq to be a focal point and a competitive business environment.”

According to Mohammed al Hakim, of Careem Iraq:

“There is no lack of human capital in Iraq — there is a lack of investment in human capital in Iraq.”

The event, along with the Start-Up Championship the previous evening, forged connections between people from various disciplines and locations, and will doubtless be a starting point for many of tomorrow’s success stories.