By John Lee.

General Electric (GE) is reportedly expected to win a large share of the multibillion-dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq’s electricity system.

According to a report from Reuters, “under U.S. prodding, Iraq is asking both Siemens and GE to bid on contracts and expects to make awards to each of the companies“.

Following a hotly-contested competition last year, it was agreed that Siemens and GE would share the work to upgrade they system, with GE supplying 14 gigawatts (GW), and Siemens 11 GW.

The Financial Times subsequently reported that the deals were not certain to be approved.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi has met with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his accompanying delegation during a visit to Baghdad.

The Prime Minister expressed his desire to deepen relations with Germany, and cited in particular the signing of a road map for the electricity sector with Siemens.

Minister Maas expressed German concern for stability in the region, and said he will visit Iran in the coming days to discuss this issue.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Germany’s Siemens and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have agreed on the award of contracts valued at approximately EUR 700 million for Phase 1 of their “Iraq Roadmap“, covering short-, mid- and long-term addition of new highly-efficient power generation capacity, rehabilitation and upgrade of existing plants, and the expansion of transmission and distribution networks.

The agreement builds on the exclusive Memorandum of Understanding signed between the ministry and Siemens in October last year, and outlines the specific projects, associated budgets and timelines for the execution phase, covering all essential elements of the electrification of Iraq.

The document was signed by Joe Kaeser (pictured), President and CEO of Siemens AG, and Luay al-Khatteeb, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity, in Berlin in the presence of Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Prime Minister of Iraq and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Projects include the EPC construction of a 500 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Zubaidiya; the upgrade of 40 gas turbines with upstream cooling systems; and the installation of 13 of 132 kilovolt substations along with 34 transformers across Iraq.

The ‘Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of the New Iraq’ is a series of short, medium and long-term plans designed to meet the reconstruction goals of Iraq and support the country’s economic development. Along with the electrification scope, Siemens had also committed to the donation of a smart health clinic, a 60 million US-dollar software grant for universities of Iraq, and the training of more than 1,000 Iraqis in vocational education.

The clinic will be equipped with the company’s medical devices to make healthcare more accessible to Iraqis and will support the rehabilitation of populations in liberated areas of the country, with the capacity to treat up to 10,000 patients per year. As for the grant, it will empower local university students with the digital skills essential for the future.

The economic viability of the plan is secured by billions of US dollars in potential fuel savings and revenue generation for the electricity sector. The company also envisions the creation of tens of thousands of jobs over the course of the projects. The roadmap focuses on energy, education, compliance and financing, aiming to advance sustainable economic development, national security and quality of life for the people of Iraq. Siemens initially presented the Roadmap to the Government of Iraq during the Iraq Reconstruction Conference in Kuwait, in February 2018.

Kaeser commented:

Our mission is to secure reliable and affordable electricity for the Iraqi people and help them rebuild their country. This binding agreement addresses the various aspects of the roadmap. We are also committed to supporting Iraq in arranging financing for the projects, creating attractive jobs and opportunities for small and medium enterprises.

“Investing in the country’s future workforce through education and training is close to our heart. Contributing to social and economic development is at the core of what we do and forms a significant part of this agreement.

(Source: Siemens)

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)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the courier company DHL , in partnership with the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCCC) in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) conducted a workshop on Getting Airports Ready for Disasters (GARD) for the period 14th to 18th Apr.

The workshop aimed to prepare airports personnel to handle the logistical situations in post-disasters. The five-day workshop provided training to 30 staff from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah International airports and employees from relevant government agencies.

The attendees jointly identified the areas that could potentially serve as key locations for disaster logistics operations in the two airports, the workshop also evaluated the airports’ capacities for processing high volumes of passengers, cargos and warehousing relief supplies.

The Director General of KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Hoshang Mohamed said:

“We are very pleased with this partnership and we welcome this first-of-its kind initiative of “GARD” as it will further enhance our crisis management capacities to respond to disaster-affected people on time, through expediting and fast-tracking the importation and movement of relief items, and humanitarian assistance as well as the entry and exit of the humanitarian personnel. We extend our thanks to UNDP Iraq and DHL for conducting this programme”.

Vice President, Humanitarian Services of Deutsche Post DHL Group, Mr. Chris Weeks said:

“We at DHL see it over and over again – airports quickly get overwhelmed by the chaos of incoming relief aid, UN and NGO personnel, military organizations and the crowds of people trying to leave. Sometimes, humanitarian aids arrives faster than airport can arrange for it to get out, causing a massive bottleneck in the flow of relief logistics. Timing is critical during disasters and the more efficient an airport is at processing incoming aircraft, the faster aids can get out to those in need. We are really proud to conduct our first GARD workshop in Iraq”.

Officer in Charge of UNDP Iraq Mr. Vakhtang Svanidze stated that:

“The threat of natural disasters remain high. Recently  due to torrential rains, the country continues to witness large scale floods which have claimed lives, displaced people and destroyed properties. The Dam of Mosul poses significant risks to the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable communities along Tigris flood plain”.

Since 2009 nearly 50 GARD workshops have been held in 24 countries for nearly 1,160 trainees. In the Middle East, workshops were previously held in Tehran (2017), Almaty (2017), Aqaba (2016), Amman (2014), Yerevan (2013) and Beirut (2012). Through the joint work of UNDP and DHL, the GARD workshop is being conducted now in Iraq for the first time.

(Source: UNDP)

UK Export Finance (UKEF) will support a €30.2 million contract for the refurbishment of Al Mussaib power station in southern Iraq, the UK government has announced.

The support will enable the rehabilitation of a 320 megawatt (MW) turbine, that will help improve the overall efficiency and output at the power station.

Al Mussaib power station, located close to Baghdad, is one of the main providers of electricity for the city. Increasing its output will help secure the supply of basic electricity to Baghdad residents.

Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Fairhead (pictured) said:

I am delighted that UK Export Finance is supporting the first phase of the refurbishment, which will have such a significant impact on the supply and security of electricity in southern Iraq.

“The demand for UK expertise on complex projects like this highlights the UK’s leadership in this sector and I am delighted that UK Export Finance is supporting projects that will have such a direct impact on improving the country’s infrastructure and the lives of the Iraqi people.

“I encourage likeminded businesses to get in touch with UKEF to learn more about the kind of financial support we can provide.”

This announcement follows the agreement between the governments of the UK and Iraq signed in March 2017, which re-affirmed the UK’s commitment to Iraq’s continued economic development.

Darren Davidson, Managing Director – Power Generation Services, Power & Gas, Siemens UK said:

“The refurbishment of the Al Mussaib power plant will be hugely important both for the citizens of Baghdad and for our international business. UKEF’s support demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to improving Iraq’s infrastructure and the UK’s energy sector.”

(Source: UKEF)

By John Lee.

The Financial Times has reported that the recently-agreed electricity deals with Siemens and General Electric (GE) are not certain to be approved.

It quotes Minister for Electricity Luay Al-Khatteeb (pictured) as saying:

“I don’t have financial allocations or the processes available at hand, it doesn’t allow me to cherry-pick the right consultancies to deal with these multibillion-dollar deals. The bureaucracy that I inherited is . . . illogical. … certainly it’s going to be quite challenging to blindly accept such proposals.”

Al-Khatteeb took his post after the non-binding deals, or “principles of co-operation” were agreed with his predecessor, Qasim Al Fahdawi.

He said he that “volunteer experts” are helping “read in between the lines of these sophisticated legal contractual documents.

Last month, Lisa Davis, CEO of the Siemens Gas and Power Operating Company, and member of the corporation’s managing board, told The National last week that “discussions are ongoing.

More here.

(Source: Financial Times)

IBBC signs Memorandum of Understanding with the German Liaison Office for Commerce & Industry

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and the German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq (DWI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation between the organisations to support and grow trade between the UK, Europe and Iraq.

The cooperation will involve reciprocatory promotion of events, the organising of joint events and invitation to major events.

The German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq (DWI) Baghdad and Erbil is the representative office of the German economy in Iraq and accomplishes the tasks of the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK). It was founded in 2010 and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) of the Federal Republic of Germany. They currently support about 600 companies, among them about 30 German company branches working in Iraq or in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. In addition to representing the interests of German companies, he German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq supports the economic exchange between Iraq and Germany.

IBBC is delighted to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding, which further boosts our growing international network for the benefit of our members and the people of Iraq.

For more information on DWI, visit: http://irak.ahk.de/en/about-us/

You can see the full list of IBBC partners here.

(Source: IBBC)

A new UK aid package is to help the Government of Iraq to reinvigorate its economy and rebuild hospitals, schools and other vital infrastructure, allowing Iraqis displaced by conflict to return home and restart their lives, UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt announced during a four-day visit to Iraq.

The UK is the first donor to the newly formed Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), following close cooperation between the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Iraq, the World Bank, Germany and other international partners to develop the fund.

The fund will:

  • encourage innovative approaches and provide technical assistance to the Government of Iraq as it reconstructs areas affected by conflict, including the rebuilding of houses, schools, hospitals, factories and roads.
  • provide opportunities to utilise UK and international expertise to help the Government of Iraq to carry out vital reforms that will make the country more business friendly.
  • help unlock Iraq’s economic potential, generate jobs, boost potential for enhanced future trade with the UK and other international partners and lay the ground-work for long-term peace and stability following the conflict with Daesh.

In addition to tackling Iraq’s long-term recovery and reconstruction, Mr. Burt also announced further support to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the 1.8 million people still displaced from their homes within Iraq, and a boost for stabilisation efforts to ensure vital services such as healthcare and electricity are reinstated quickly in places such as Mosul.

During the visit in which Iraq and the UK agreed to a joint communique to further strengthen bilateral relations, Mr Burt held wide ranging discussions on UK-Iraqi cooperation, trade, development and regional security issues with the Iraqi President Barham Salih, the Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mehdi, Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister and the Trade and Planning ministers.

He also met Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, and the Prime-Minister designate, Masrour Barzani. Whilst in the Kurdistan Region, the minister also met Minister for the Interior, and for Peshmerga Affairs Karim Sinjari, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.

In support of the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to tackle the persecution of Christians across the globe, the minister also engaged with the Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda and grassroots faith organisations to gain their perspectives on freedom of religion and beliefs in the region.

Speaking from Baghdad the Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

The UK is a strong partner and friend of Iraq. We share a range of mutual and growing priorities which include security, development, foreign policy and trade.

“There is much to be celebrated about Iraq’s progress since the territorial defeat of Daesh in 2017. But there is more to be done to help Iraq develop the strong, stable future, decided on by all Iraqis, that its people deserve. The UK remains committed to supporting Iraq to develop along non-sectarian lines, and we are particularly concerned about the rights and freedoms afforded to Christians and other minority faith groups.

“I am proud that we will be the first donor to the Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund. UK aid will provide vital support to the people of Iraq as they rebuild their lives, their businesses and their economic independence.

UK aid announced today for the humanitarian response will support vulnerable people displaced by conflict, providing clean water, medicine and shelter. Since 2014, UK aid in Iraq has provided 4.1 million people with life-saving healthcare, 2 million people with safe water and sanitation, 836,500 people with shelter and more than 408,000 people with food.

£16 million will be allocated to the Iraq Reform and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF), run by the World Bank, from DFID’s budget. The IRRF will support Government of Iraq-led reconstruction efforts following the destruction caused by the conflict with Daesh, and support the implementation of longer term economic reform.

£6.9 million will be allocated to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilisation (FFS) in Iraq from the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF). It will directly support the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in areas of Iraq liberated from Daesh. This will include hospitals, school, power plants and roads destroyed in the fighting.

£10 million will be allocated to UN OCHA’s Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund from DFID’s budget. It will support the ongoing humanitarian response, providing for the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Iraq displaced by conflict. It will help deliver clean water, medicine, shelter and a wide range of additional services to people living within temporary camps. Since 2014, UK aid in Iraq has provided 4.1 million people with life-saving healthcare, 2 million people with safe water and sanitation, 836,500 people with shelter and more than 408,000 people with food.

(Source: UK Govt)