By John Lee.

Two companies have won contracts with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the “Supply and Delivery of ICT Equipment for UNMAS Iraq“.

  • Lot 1 – Laptop Computers and Peripherals: Contract value of $32,320, awarded to Zero One Co. Ltd. 
  • Lot 2 – Apple Branded Tablets: Contract value of $10,130, awarded to Canon for General Trading Ltd Co.
  • Lot 3 – Tablets and Mobile Phones: Contract value of $4,920, awarded to Canon for General Trading Ltd Co. 

(Source: UNGM)

By Sundus Abbas, SDGs project Manager.

The importance of human development in Iraq stems from the damage Iraqis underwent as a result of decades of despotism, war and different forms of violence and insecurity.

Despite all that, Iraq’s strongest asset and real wealth remains the young population that can face all forms of the current and future challenges.

As one of the countries that has the largest young population groups in the world “50% of the population are under 19 years old”, this fact has put Iraq under pressure on already scarce economic resources, including food, water, urban infrastructure and public services.

It is expected that 5 to7 million additional job opportunities will be needed according to the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. This number may be higher if labor force participation rates increase, especially among women.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: UNDP)

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What’s Really Polluting Southern Iraq’s Most Important Waterway?

For years, fish and other marine life has been disappearing from the all-important Shatt al-Arab waterway in Basra. This wide river at the southern end of Iraq is an important port, linking Iraq with the Persian gulf. It is a vital part of the local environment.

In the more recent past, there have been criticisms that the Shatt al-Arab is too polluted, radioactive and affected with bacterial diseases. Locals often ask why. But it’s not like there is a lack of knowledge about the various causes of this river’s life-threatening problems. A wide number of experts in the area have been studying the different types of pollution problems carefully for years.

Researcher Jabbar Hafez Jebur has conducted a number of studies on whether the Shatt al-Arab is radioactive, taking samples from  various contributing rivers. “The concentration of radioactive elements are within the permitted limits and do not require any action,” he told NIQASH.

The Shatt al-Arab is free of radioactivity, confirms Khajak Vartanian, a physicist with the southern Directorate of the Environment. “But,” he added, “there is growing chemical pollution.”

The concentrations of toxic metals like nickel, chromium, lead, zinc and cadmium can be measured on the water’s surface and in its sediments, says hydrologist Safaa al-Asadi, of the University of Basra’s geography department. There are low  concentrations of toxins spread evenly throughout the waterway.

“Yes, the river is contaminated with toxic minerals but their levels are still within the limits of daily use for irrigation and for aquatic survival,” al-Asadi explained. In fact, much of the pollution comes from the gas emissions in the atmosphere that result from oil extraction activities, he continued, as well as the pollutants issued by diesel generators. These pollutants, discharged into the air, end up in the river after it rains.

Where the various toxins end up depends very much on the tides in the Shatt al-Arab. Their location depends less on the discharge of industrial and domestic sewage, he notes, pointing out that man-made discharges directly into the river have less of an impact than those coming from the sky.

Basra’s Ministry of the Environment regularly monitors the amount of pollution in the waterways at various different points, says Ahmed Jassim Hanoun, director of the department for the protection of the environment at the ministry. Samples are taken regularly and tested, he adds.

Hanoun says his offices are concerned about the direct discharge of pollutants into the Shatt al-Arab and other nearby rivers. But he believes that one of the most important factors is the level of salinity, or salt, in the water.

No bacterial diseases were discovered in the waterways recently and Hanoun says this has a lot to do with the lower levels of salinity. Authorities have tried to ensure that more fresh water is released into the Shatt al-Arab to keep fresh water flowing, and prevent sea water from coming in from the ocean.

“What we noticed after periodic tests throughout 2019 is that the releases of fresh water from the Tigris river, coming from out of Maysan province, has meant that there is more resistance to the salt tongue coming in from the sea,” Hanoun said. The previous year, when there was not as much rainfall upriver, the Shatt al-Arab was a lot saltier and therefore more prone to bacterial growth.

“The department of water resources released 30 to 40 cubic meters [of fresh water] per second in 2018 but in 2019, it released more than 90 cubic meters per second,” Hanoun noted.

Besides the bacterial contamination, saline water from the sea and industrial and environmental pollution, there is another thing that isn’t helping, Hanoun points out: The number of submerged objects in the waterway.

His department has regularly asked the port authority to clear the waterways of the hundreds of objects there, he says.

“We are suffering because of the delay from the government,” says Khaled al-Talibi, a sea captain and head of a local mariners’ association. “The submerged items disrupt navigation in the harbour and change the way the sand and silt moves, which in turn causes a change in currents and reduces the flow of water to the river mouth.”

By Harith Hasan, for Carnegie Middle East Center. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On November 11, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani received Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the representative in Iraq of the United Nations secretary general.

Sistani welcomed a reform plan proposed by Plasschaert in response to weeks-long protests in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities, and expressed his concern that “respective parties might not be serious about implementing real reforms.”

If those parties “were incapable or unwilling to make the required reforms,” Sistani continued, then “an alternative path should be considered.”

This was the strongest position conveyed by the cleric since the protests began. It led many Iraqis to wonder what the “alternative path” to which Sistani referred might be.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Carnegie Middle East Center)

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced issuance of a notice of discovery to the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on the Baeshiqa-2 exploration well, in accordance with the requirements of the Production Sharing Contract, after flowing hydrocarbons to surface from the upper part of Triassic Kurra Chine B reservoir.

Following acid stimulation, the zone flowed variable rates of light oil and sour gas. Further testing of this and other Jurassic and Triassic zones is ongoing and will determine the next steps towards appraisal and assessment of commerciality.

The Baeshiqa-2 well was spud in February 2019 and drilled to a total depth of 3,204 meters (2,549 meters TVDSS).

DNO acquired a 32 percent interest and operatorship of the Baeshiqa license in 2017. Partners include ExxonMobil with 32 percent, Turkish Energy Company (TEC) with 16 percent and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with 20 percent.

(Source: DNO)

By John Lee.

Two companies have been chosen by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the “Long Term Agreement for Provision of Hardware Tools and Cleaning Materials in Iraq“.

  • Lot 1 – Central and Norther Governorates: awarded to Albilad Alhurra company 
  • Lot 1 – Central and Norther Governorates: awarded to HRA for General Trading, General Contracting and Oil services Ltd 
  • Lot 2 – Western Governorate: awarded to Albilad Alhurra company 
  • Lot 2 – Western Governorate: awarded to HRA for General Trading, General Contracting and Oil services Ltd 

Contract values were not disclosed.

(Source: UNGM)

By John Lee.

Iraqi security forces have attacked medical workers for treating protesters since protests began on October 25, 2019, firing on medical workers, tents, and ambulances with teargas and live ammunition, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday. The attacks have left at least one medic dead.

Medics have become another victim of the state’s excessive force,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “These attacks show an utter disregard for the overriding need to ensure medical workers can do their essential job.

More here.

(Source: HRW)

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)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 14th November 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD646 (+0.2%) / $687 (+0.2%) (weekly change) (-2.0% and -3.2% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 11.3 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD 11.8 bn ($9.7 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Ishtar Hotel (HISH) will hold an AGM on Dec. 4, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial statements. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 20, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2018 annual financial statements.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Bain Al-Nahrain Investment (VMES) starting Nov. 28, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Dec. 3, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial statements.
  • Ameen Al-Iraq Islamic Bank / Mouta for Remittance (MTMO) held an AGM on Nov. 13, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial statements. The company has been suspended from trading since Jan. 21, 2018 until it receives its operation license by the CBI.
  • ISX suspended trading of Iraqi for Seed Production (AISP) starting Nov. 12, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2019 financial statements.