The first ever Leading Brands Iraq award ceremony was hosted at Rotana Hotel Erbil, Iraq.

Popular brands of consumer goods in Iraq have received their awards in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Iraqi central government and the KRG, delegates of leading brands as well as academics and media. Kurdmax TV recorded the event co-sponsored by Al Sharqiya TV and Rudaw TV. Ms Kazhan Abdul served as event presenter.

In his opening speech, LBI Advisory Board Chairman Prof Dr Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent’s University London) presented the aims and methodology of LBI highlighting growth opportunities in Iraq and sharing statistics on the country.

The consortium organising the Leading Brands Iraq event is led by ScorePR while Nish Research Iraq has been running regular consumer surveys and market analysis. The leading brands were solely determined by analysis of survey data while the technical team behind has used robust statistical techniques in preparing rankings and sector based reports.

Ministerial speeches were given by Dr Ammar Saadun, representative of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, and by adviser on economic relations Mr Fathi Mudaris, representative of the KRG Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Well known academics and experts from the UK delivered keynote speeches reflecting on branding and brand building processes. Prof. Finola Kerrigan (University of Birmingham) emphasised the importance of heritage in brand building while Dr. Phil Clements discussed the potential of Erbil as a location in respect to MICE, the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions sector.

LBI Project Director Dr. Sinan Zeyneloglu announced the SCORE points of Leading Brands in each category. International brands as well as local brands from Iraq and the KRI have achieved leading brand status for entire Iraq as well as for Kurdistan separately in the categories given below:

Carbonated Beverage
Cooking Oil
GSM Operator
Home Appliances
Laundry Detergent
Mobile Phone
Paper Towel
Powdered Milk
Sanitary Pad
Toilet Paper
Tomato Paste

Representatives of companies achieving leading brand status were excited and supportive of the organisation on and off the stage.

A full list of leading brands as well as pictures of the event can be seen at

A 10-min summary video of the event is posted on

(Source: Leading Brands Iraq)

The Ninewa Investment Forum is taking place from 3rd to 5th December in Erbil.

This two-day event will showcase investment-ready businesses to private investors from around the world.

Presenting a portfolio of very attractive investment opportunities will spark a virtuous cycle of both exciting project opportunities and increased investor confidence.

The event is organized by the Iraq Governance and Performance Accountability (IGPA) project, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and will feature experts and speakers in international investment and development.

The Forum represents a unique collaboration between the U.S. and Iraqi private and public sectors to support communities in Ninewa through catalytic investment opportunities.

Register now

Registration is open to qualified individuals on a space-availability basis. All registration will be confirmed by the Ninewa Investment Forum team.

(Source: Invest in Ninewa)

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 John Lee.

The Arab Swiss Engineering Company (ASEC) has reportedly signed a three-year agreement with Iraq’s KAR Group for the operation and maintenance of the Qarachough [Qarachog] Cement Plant near Erbil.

According to World Cement, the plant has a capacity of 1.9 million tonnes per year.

(Source: World Cement)

By John Lee.

The Turkish charter company Freebird Airlines will reportedly offer flights from Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands to Erbil and Sulaymaniya throughout the summer.

According to Eindhoven News, flights depart once a week from April to October.

(Source: Eindhoven News)

Top Mountain LLC hosted the first annual Business Canvas Erbil conference which was attended by 120 participants and took place in the Dedeman hotel.

The conference was funded by the European Union and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ.

The event was also sponsored by GroFin Iraq, a financing organization that provides loans of up to $2 million to SMEs in Iraq.

The goal of the conference was to inform the audience about the future of economic development in the Kurdistan Region and promote the services of Top Mountain Business Incubator.

Throughout the conference, speakers and panelists reviewed the challenges and opportunities related to the job market and entrepreneurship.

During his presentation on the future of the startup ecosystem in Iraq, one of the Co-founders of Top Mountain explained that within the next few years startups in Iraq will begin to rapidly multiply and grow as financing and technical skills become more widely available.

This predication is based on the rapid growth in startups that has occurred throughout the MENA region over the last 3 years. Some of the key conclusions reached by panelist and speakers are that companies in Iraq must expand their internship programs to help train the next generation of skilled workers.

Panelists also noted that lack of access to finance is the most critical challenge to SME growth. Despite the challenges facing businesses in Iraq, most of the attendees and panelists remain optimistic and anticipate a bright future for Iraq’s economy.

(Source: Top Mountain LLC)

It’s a money-making machine,” says garage owner Karhi Bakr, 59, about the import of secondhand car parts into the Kurdistan capital of Erbil.

Containers full of parts from cars written off after accidents in the West continue to pour into the city, which has become a major hub for the trade.

Some of the 200 or so Kurdish traders involved have become very rich, Bakr says. “Their profits are enormous. If I had a partner willing to invest, I would also go to Europe to collect used parts.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has reportedly ordered operators to block calls between their customers and Korek users in a dispute over number portability.

According to Rudaw, the regulator told mobile network providers that Erbil-based Korek had failed to meet its “contractual obligations” to allow customers to keep their phone number when they change service provider, while other providers such as Zain and Asiacell had complied with the regulations.

Korek has called the policy “unfair and unjust” both to customers and companies.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

By John Lee.

UK-based recruitment agency SSK Recruitment is reported to be looking to open an office in Erbil.

Bdaily quotes Managing director Adam Smith as saying:

With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we decided to focus on building relationships in the Middle East.

“The margins are significantly higher in the Middle East than here in the UK and we’ve been lucky that through existing relationships we’ve formed with our current clients, they have in turn recommended us to other companies.

It adds that the company is looking to engage with more companies in the oil and gas sector and is holding meetings in the UK, Dubai and Iraq.

(Source: Bdaily)