IBBC Spring Conference 2019

Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy 

10 April, The Mansion House, London

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) invites you to attend its Ninth Annual Conference at the Mansion House on the 10th of April. This year’s conference is organised in partnership with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraqi Private Banking League.

With a strong focus on the Iraqi banking sector, two sessions of the conference will be devoted to financial sector issues. Other areas will focus on building human capital in the public and private sector and on oil & gas.

Christophe Michels, Managing Director of IBBC states:

“The security situation in Iraq is now much improved, with a new Government in place that has a clear mandate from the people to improve governance and to provide important basic utilities. IBBC is the Iraqi Governments private sector partner of choice for developing the private sector in Iraq. We firmly believe that only private enterprise can meet the challenges facing Iraq by developing a modern economy”.

H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will lead a high level delegation alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Iraq Private Banks League and the Governors of Erbil, Sulamania and Karbala. A large delegation of Iraqi Businessmen from all governorates of the country will also be in attendance.

Round-table discussions will take place with Iraqi officials, including the Iraqi Governors, where delegates can engage in concentrated debates on country specific issues. As well as specific round-tables on Tech in Iraq and Women’s Group.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers will present a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates will receive an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition. There will also be special presentations by the Central Bank of Iraq and Basra Gas Company.

Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow at Chatham House and the preeminent voice on Iraq in the UK is publishing a briefing paper specifically for the IBBC conference, discussing the short to medium term economic and political outlook for Iraq.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan will open the conference, alongside The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq and Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of UK Export Finance (UKEF).

Conference Sessions & Speakers 

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chair: Gavin Wishart, Shire Oak International

Panellists: Dr Mazen Sabeh Ahmed, Central Bank of Iraq; Mohammed Delaimy, Standard Chartered Bank; UK Export Finance (UKEF); Ali Tariq Mostaf, Iraq Private Banking League; Richard Wilkins, JP Morgan

Stock Marker & Investment Opportunities

Chair: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland (tbc)

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taham, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; London Stock Exchange (tbc)

Oil & Gas

Chair: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

Panellists: Dr Mark Wharton, Shell; Lawrence Coleman BP; Bob Dastmalchi, Chevron

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chair: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

Panellists: Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House; Prof. Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester; Samer Al Mafraji, AMS Iraq

Dr Mai Yamani will be presenting the closing remarks for this important event.

Join IBBC, its members and the international business and finance community for a full agenda of expert speakers, UK & Iraqi politicians and many networking and business development opportunities.

You can register and purchase tickets via the IBBC website: https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/spring-conference-at-the-mansion-house

The conference is being generously supported and sponsored by Shell, Rolls-Royce, Standard Chartered Bank and Eversheds Sutherland.

For more information email london@webuildiraq.org or telephone 020 7222 7100.

(Source: IBBC)

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad on March 11 amid his government’s efforts to expand ties with Iraq to reduce the impact of US sanction on Iran’s economy.

Prior to departing Tehran, Rouhani remarked, “[Iran’s ties with Iraq] cannot be compared to Iraq’s relations with an occupying country like America, which is hated in the region.” The visit is Rouhani’s first one to Baghdad since taking office in 2013.

The Iranian leader’s three days in Iraq will include his signing a series of agreements on energy, transport, agriculture, industry and health as well as meetings with Iraqi officials. In preparation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad the day before Rouhani.

Iran aims to boost annual trade with its neighbor from $12 billion to $20 billion to help offset US sanctions, which are strangling its economy.

Click here to read the full story.

The Secretary of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said the obstacles to banking interaction between the two neighbors have been settled and the bilateral trade exchange is fairly normal.

In comments at a televised program on Sunday night, Hamid Hosseini said the problems with banking relations between Iran and Iraq have been resolved and the process of exports to Iraq as well as trade exchange with the Arab country has become stable and much better than before.

Iranian exporters’ concerns about trade with Iraq under a currency agreement have been addressed, the official noted, expressing hope that the process of steady trade exchange with Iraq would continue in the coming Iranian year.

Hosseini pointed to a 32-strong delegation of Iranian private sector’s business people accompanying President Hassan Rouhani in an ongoing trip to Iraq, saying the presidential visit will produce perfect results for the private sector.

A large number of technical and engineering projects worth 7 to 8 billion dollars which Iranian private sector companies were carrying out in Iraq have remained unfinished since the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in 2014, the official said, hoping that Rouhani’s trip would help address the issue.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani left Iran for Iraq at the official invitation of Baghdad.

It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

In February, governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two neighboring countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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)

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran unveiled plans for using non-dollar accounts for oil and gas trade with Iraq.

Abdolnaser Hemmati on Wednesday held a meeting with presidents of Iraqi banks, members of Iraq’s chamber of commerce and the Arab country’s business people during a trip to Baghdad.

In the gathering, the top Iranian banker unveiled a new mechanism to continue Iran’s trade with Iraqi businesses, saying the CBI is going to open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.

Describing Iraq as Iran’s major partner, Hemmati said the two countries have agreed to make the banking ties much stronger.

“According to the agreements, Iranian exporters should be able to continue activities via Iraqi banks, and Iranian banks could also open dinar accounts in Iraqi banks.”

He also stated that Iraqi companies can reciprocally open accounts in Iranian banks and conduct transactions in dinar.

In December 2018, Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Eshaq said the central banks of Iran and Iraq were finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran unveiled plans for using non-dollar accounts for oil and gas trade with Iraq.

Abdolnaser Hemmati on Wednesday held a meeting with presidents of Iraqi banks, members of Iraq’s chamber of commerce and the Arab country’s business people during a trip to Baghdad.

In the gathering, the top Iranian banker unveiled a new mechanism to continue Iran’s trade with Iraqi businesses, saying the CBI is going to open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.

Describing Iraq as Iran’s major partner, Hemmati said the two countries have agreed to make the banking ties much stronger.

“According to the agreements, Iranian exporters should be able to continue activities via Iraqi banks, and Iranian banks could also open dinar accounts in Iraqi banks.”

He also stated that Iraqi companies can reciprocally open accounts in Iranian banks and conduct transactions in dinar.

In December 2018, Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Eshaq said the central banks of Iran and Iraq were finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdonnaser Hemmati said Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has voiced “his firm support” for the banking deal reached between the two countries on Tuesday night and called for its rapid implementation.

“After a long and four-hour meeting last night with the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, I had a very good and constructive meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq on Wednesday, February 6,” Hemmati said in a post on social media.

“I appreciated his determination to develop political and economic relations between the two countries,” he wrote.

“He declared his firm support for the two sides’ banking agreement and urged the governor of Iraq’s Central Bank to quickly pursue and implement the deal,” Hemmati stated.

In a meeting between Hemmati and his Iraqi counterpart, Ali Mohsen al-Allaq, in Baghdad on Tuesday night, the agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties was signed.

In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

Rouhani hoped that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad would contribute to regional security and stability.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two neighboring countries.

The deal on the payment mechanism was signed in a meeting between Iran’s Abdolnaser Hemmati and Iraq’s Ali Mohsen al-Allaq in Baghdad on Tuesday night.

Speaking at the meeting, Hemmati described Iraq as Iran’s biggest trade partner and said banking relationship is the factor needed for the durability of bilateral ties between the two countries.

Hemmati further pointed to the US sanctions against Iran and said by waging an economic war against the Islamic Republic, Washington has made extensive efforts to disturb the economic and political conditions of Iran.

However, he added, with the arrangements made by Iran, fortunately, the enemy plots have been thwarted and the Iranian economy has become stable.

In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

Rouhani hoped that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad would contribute to regional security and stability.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Moscow is very interested in increasing trade, economic and investment ties with Iraq.

Following a meeting on Wednesday with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, he said:

In the field of investment, especially in the hydrocarbon sector, there is a very good result. Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, SoyuzNefteGaz are already working, Rosneft is interested in projects in Iraq. The total investment in this industry has already exceeded $ 10 billion.

“We want to promote projects in other areas. Today we talked about electricity, agriculture, industry, transport – all this will be considered in the context of preparations for the next meeting of the Russian-Iraqi Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

He added that about 4 thousand Iraqi citizens are currently studying in universities of the Russian Federation, while dozens of diplomats from Iraq take part in special training courses at the Diplomatic Academy at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

(Source: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

By John Lee.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Moscow is very interested in increasing trade, economic and investment ties with Iraq.

Following a meeting on Wednesday with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, he said:

In the field of investment, especially in the hydrocarbon sector, there is a very good result. Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, SoyuzNefteGaz are already working, Rosneft is interested in projects in Iraq. The total investment in this industry has already exceeded $ 10 billion.

“We want to promote projects in other areas. Today we talked about electricity, agriculture, industry, transport – all this will be considered in the context of preparations for the next meeting of the Russian-Iraqi Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

He added that about 4 thousand Iraqi citizens are currently studying in universities of the Russian Federation, while dozens of diplomats from Iraq take part in special training courses at the Diplomatic Academy at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

(Source: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)