By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

The Cabinet discussed and reviewed a number of infrastructure projects, and approved a scheme to develop land close to Baghdad International Airport.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is looking to strengthen its economy after decades of war, sanctions, sectarian division and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

It has achieved some progress in recent years thanks to its oil industry; Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and oil provides roughly 85 percent of the government’s revenue.

As the country enters a period of relative calm, Iraq’s oil minister, Thamer Ghadhban, says the government is working to expand its oil industries and improve infrastructure, which includes building more refineries and investing in southern gas fields and export routes.

By John Lee.

Kuwait will reportedly fund the reconstruction of a major border crossing with Iraq.

According to Anadolu Agency, Iraq’s Border Crossing Authority said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two countries to prepare the infrastructure for the crossing at Safwan.

(Source: Anadolu Agency)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Building a successful business means delivering what you promise.

When I recently needed to go to Baghdad at short notice, I remembered a conversation I had with Abir Burhan, Operations Director of Al-Burhan Group: “Any time you want to go to Iraq,” he said, “we can take care of your visa, flights, accommodation and security – just give me a call.”

So I did, and a few days later I was on a plane from London Gatwick to Baghdad with Iraqi Airways, booked via IKB Travel; conveniently, a direct flight, which saves the time and trouble of getting a connecting flight somewhere else.

Staying at the Al-Burhan Centre, just minutes from the terminal building at Baghdad International Airport, was also very convenient, and probably the most secure location in Baghdad, situated as it is within the heavily guarded airport complex.

While in Iraq, I (and my family!) also needed to know that I’d be safe when travelling about in the capital; Gethin Wilson, Operations Manager at Al-Burhan Security, and his highly professional team, ensured that I was always where I needed to be, on time and in total safety.

But it’s not just about convenience and security. The success of the Al-Burhan Centre owes as much to the friendliness and hospitality of its people as it does to their efficiency and professionalism.

These factors are even more important for those staying long-term. Many of the guests at the Al-Burhan Centre are ex-pats, staying on rotations that can last weeks or months at a time, so it’s important not only that that they feel safe, but also that they are well catered for and enjoy their time at the centre.

George Mansour and his staff really understand that excellent food and a comfortable and friendly environment are essential for well-being, morale and productivity. And despite all the good food, there’s no excuse for putting on weight, as the centre even has two gyms to help work off the calories.

The al-Burhan family have created a real home from home, and take seriously the sign in their office: “Only promise what you can deliver.





By John Lee.

President Barham Salih has highlighted the need to address the obstacles impeding the work of the private sector in Iraq.

Addressing a delegation from the Iraqi Federation of Chambers of Commerce at his Office in Baghdad, the President stressed the importance of enhancing the role of the private sector in reconstruction.

Mr. Abdul Razzaq al-Zuhairi, the Head of the Federation, said he valued the President’s support for the private sector.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi President)

2.5 Million Iraqis and Businesses to Benefit from Improved Electricity Services

A new US$200 million World Bank project will provide increased and more reliable supply of electricity to about 2.5 million Iraqis and productive enterprises in the governorates of Basra, Al-Muthanna, Thi Qar, and Missan who currently suffer from frequent and long power cuts and rely on private or shared generators to cover the shortages within the public network.

The Electricity Services Reconstruction and Enhancement Project, approved today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors, will support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply by reducing the capacity limitations in the electricity distribution and transmission network.

The project aims to support increased efficiency of electricity operations and management which is key to reducing the fiscal burden levied by the sector on Iraq’s budget, drawing resources away from other public sector needs such as reconstruction, health and education.

Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director, said:

The lack of access to reliable power has a significant impact on household well-being, business growth, and the capacity of the enterprise sector to create sustainable jobs for the growing numbers of youth entering the job market.

“Improved electricity supply will support job creation, including enhancing women’s ability to engage in income generating activities. It will also promote economic diversification and allow enterprises to increase their productivity, thus fostering inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity for the population of Iraq South region”.

The project will support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the electricity transmission and distribution grid including installation of new lines and power substations. In addition, the project will include installation of an Integrated Management Information Systems and customer call centers.

These activities will not only increase the network capacity to deliver electricity to the consumer premises, but will also support improvements in network operations efficiency and customer care such as reducing the duration of electricity outages, improving the accuracy in meter reading and billing records and fast response to electricity consumer concerns.

Paul Baringanire, World Bank Senior Energy Specialist and Project Team Leader, said:

Improved efficiency, transparency, and accountability of operations will not only improve the sector’s performance but also enhance the image and credibility of the sector institutions namely the Ministry of Electricity, the South Electricity Transmission Company, and the South Electricity Distribution Company with shareholders and electricity customers thus contributing to restoring citizen confidence and gaining support for sustained operations.”

(Source: World Bank)

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

Explosive hazards in Mosul a major threat for years to come 

The classroom of 13-year-old boys was vibrant, filled with energy, as the final lesson of the day began, addressing a serious topic. One of the guest instructors held up posters of various suspicious objects. Some were more obviously mortars or hand grenades, but others appeared to be fun things, such as toys and dolls.

Representatives from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), in coordination with the Iraqi Health and Social Care Organization, were delivering an explosive risk class at the Amer Abdullah School for Boys in Mosul, Iraq.

It may be the most important lesson the children there receive, as they face the daily risk of death or injury from unexploded ordnance (UXO). As Pehr Lodhammar, manager of the UNMAS Iraq program described it, “Western Mosul [in particular] has an explosive threat which is unlike anything we have seen in the past.

Click here to read the full story.

EU-funded programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development – Launch of the Yarmouk Park Rehabilitation Project in Mosul

Mosul local authorities and citizens gathered in Al Yarmouk Park in West Mosul on 2 May 2019 to launch the rehabilitation works that will be conducted under the programme Supporting Recovery and Stability in Iraq through Local Development.

The programme, which will target nine governorates, is funded by the European Union (EU) with €47.5 million over 4 years, and implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Along with the rehabilitation of damaged housing, public facilities and secondary infrastructure in conflict-affected areas, the recovery of open spaces and public amenities for citizens emerged as one of the key priorities listed in the Provincial Recovery Plans developed by the governorates of Nineveh, Salah al Din and Anbar, under the flagship Local Area Development Programme (LADP II) that was also funded by the EU and concluded in mid-2018. In the city of Mosul, the programme will be investing USD 2 million in Al Yarmouk Park and adjacent residential area.

Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Tomas Reyes Ortega, stated:

“The rehabilitation of Al Yarmouk Park is a great example on how we can contribute to the quality of life in cities in inclusive and participative ways. I look forward to coming back in a couple of years and seeing this project become a reality as part of the reconstruction of Mosul to which the EU is firmly committed.”

Speaking on behalf of the Nineveh Crisis Cell, Dr. Qussay Al-Assaf, Advisor to Governor, stated:

“We support all the activities and projects carried out by the organizations within the governorate, including UN-Habitat. The agreement to launch the programme was recently signed in Erbil in the presence of 9 Iraqi governorates. In Nineveh, the EU-funded programme will be implemented in two phases: first in Mosul District and then in Tal Afar District.”

Qa’im Maqam of Mosul, Mr. Zuheer Al-Araji, said:

“We are pleased to be here today in such a place in the center of the city of Mosul that is truly in need of attention and care. I thank and appreciate the efforts and great cooperation between the service departments of Mosul Municipality and the departments of Sewerage and Water, besides the high-level of coordination with UN agencies. My thanks and appreciation to UN-Habitat for their presence in areas that really need housing rehabilitation assistance and today is for the parks rehabilitation.”

Head of Mosul Municipality, Mr Radhwan Ahmed Suliman, acknowledged the generous support of the European Union and spoke about the on-going one-day cleaning campaign that engaged more than 100 daily workers and 60 volunteers from Su’ad Mosuliya in a joint effort to remove garbage from the park and adjacent residential area:

“We are very pleased that UN-Habitat has chosen this area within low-income overcrowded areas that have not been visited by many This project is funded by the European Union organizations and thus not receiving much upgrading assistance. We strongly support this effort and these projects and, God willing, will be working alongside UN-Habitat in all future projects.”

Head of UN-Habitat Iraq Programme, a.i., Ms. Yuko Otsuki, said:

“The rehabilitation of Al Yarmouk Park will be the core of a wide range of public initiatives, environmental actions, cultural events, recreation and sport activities that will benefit Mosul citizens of all ages. In UN-Habitat, we believe that public space plays a crucial role in the creation of socio-economic value, improved health and quality of life in urban areas, as well as a unique opportunity to enhance social inclusion, cohesion and peace-building in cities affected by a recent conflict.”

The manager of the programme, Ms. Anna Soave stated that:

“Al Yarmouk Park has immediately drawn our attention because of its unique size and very dilapidated conditions, in a city where public green space per capita is notoriously well-below average and recommended standards. Public space is a vital component of a prosperous city because of its positive impact on its economy, environment, safety, health, and strong contribution to community cohesion. By involving youth in its redesign as a multi-functional space, Al Yarmouk Park has a strong potential to enhance civic identity, social interaction and cultural expression.”

A Yarmouk Cleaning Day was launched in the early morning, as a joint initiative of Mosul Municipality, UN-Habitat and Su’ad Mosuliya. Prior to embarking in the cleaning of the park and adjacent streets, municipal workers and volunteers attended risk education sessions delivered by UNMAS and IHSCO.

After the launching speeches, local officials and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Iraq, Mr. Tomas Reyes Ortega took part to the ceremonial planting of two large palms, making the commencement of the works in the park, and were then invited to cheer schoolchildren from nearby schools engaged in a set of running competitions.

(Source: ReliefWeb)

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

Energy tops agenda of Turkish FM’s meetings in Iraq

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Iraqi Kurdish leaders recently on the last leg of an ambitious visit to Iraq, in which the Turkish diplomat unveiled plans to reopen consulates in Mosul and Basra and to establish new ones in Kirkuk and Najaf.

Cavusoglu also announced that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would pay a formal visit to Iraq before the year’s end.

The timing of the two-day tour, which took Cavusoglu from Baghdad to Basra and finally Erbil, prompted speculation that Turkey was turning to its oil-rich neighbor for help after the US administration announced it was ending waivers that allowed a clutch of countries including Turkey to continue buying oil from Iran effective May 2.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)