This past week, IBBC’s ,

Christophe Michels, Managing Director of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), and IBBC’s Deputy Chairman, Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri, visited Iraq with Brigadier James Ellery CBE, Chairman of Turnkey LLC.

The main focus of the visit was construction and redevelopment in Ramadi, Anbar Province, which has undergone a remarkable period of change since Islamic State was ousted from the area.

While in Ramadi, IBBC met with a number of tribal leaders, local business figures and the provincial governor, Mr Ali Farhan Hamid, who shortly intends to visit the UK. IBBC looks forward to hosting him on this trip, and will be organising events which will allow its members to meet and network with him in the near future.

Mr Michels commented:

Overall, this trip was a great success. While always good to connect with members, it was particularly impressive to see how far the Anbar Province has come since its liberation from Islamic State.

“The level of infrastructure and construction I saw is some of the best in Iraq, and increasing long-term stability offers real potential for foreign investors.”

IBBC also visited Baghdad, where they met Dr Thamer Ghadhban, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Abdulkariem Al Faisal, Chairman the Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission, Professor Hamid Ahmed, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Dr Salar Ameen, Deputy Chairman of the National Investment Commission.

They also hosted a dinner at the Alwiyah Club, which was kindly sponsored by the Iraqi International Islamic Bank and attended by over forty IBBC members.

A particular highlight of the trip’s time in Baghdad was a visit to the Iraqi National Museum. While closed for a number of years after the war, it has now reopened to the public, and is a world-leading collector and displayer of ancient artefacts from the region.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has established a Health Sector Table.

This Table will be chaired by Professor David Kerr, Rhodes Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics, and Head of Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.

It is being supported by the Iraqi Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr Ala Alwan, who attended its first meeting.

The Table’s first meeting was held at IBBC’s offices on the morning of Friday 28th June. Its purpose is to allow relevant member organisations to become involved in the further development of the Iraqi health sector.

Healthcare is a priority for IBBC, and the Minister will personally be liaising with this Table. Also present at this meeting were representatives of Almanseer Insurance, Serco, Protechnique, GE Healthcare, Perkins+Will UK, PwC, Management Partners, and The Amar Foundation.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

This weekend, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted its annual members’ retreat at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Park, which was generously sponsored by Al Burhan Group.

As with previous years, it was very well attended by over seventy delegates, and allowed our members to mingle and network with representatives of other businesses, civil servants, and Iraqi government dignitaries.

Speakers and organisations represented included:

  • Dr Falah Al Amiri, Advisor to the Ministry of Oil, Government of Iraq
  • Dr Hameed Ahmed, Deputy Higher Education Minister
  • Eng. Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister of Housing, Construction & Municipalities
  • Jon Wilks CMG, HM Ambassador to Iraq
  • Beverley Simpson, Director, Department of International Trade (DIT) in Iraq
  • Dr Victoria Lindsay, Director, British Council, Iraq
  • Emma Sky, Director, Greenberg World Fellows Program, Yale University
  • Nicolas Pelham, The Economist
  • Professor Toby Dodge, London School of Economics
  • Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House
  • Al Burhan Group
  • Basra Gateway Terminal
  • Bath Spa University
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Constellis
  • ExxonMobil
  • Financial Times
  • G4S
  • KBR
  • Management Partners
  • Mosul University
  • OiLSERV Kuwait
  • Petrofac
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Serco
  • Shire Oak International
  • Stirling Education
  • Tube Tech International
  • TurnKey LLC
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Sheffield
  • Wood Plc

Sessions included discussions and panels on the state of Iraq, contemporary Middle Eastern politics, meetings for our various sector tables (including oil and gas, and construction and infrastructure), economic development strategies for Iraq, and how higher education partnerships could be developed between the UK and Iraq. A biannual council meeting for representatives of our member organisations was also held.

Christophe Michels, Managing Director of the IBBC was happy with how the weekend went:

“As in previous years the Retreat has attracted some of the finest minds from business, academia, politics, media and diplomacy working on Iraq to conduct truly meaningful and intimate discussions”.

Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan said:

“IBBC has had a fantastically happy and hugely productive busy weekend. We call it a retreat, but I am not sure what it was a retreat from! People were working morning, noon, and night, and they were making great achievements, and huge strides in the various different table meetings…one of the best I can ever remember”.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

IBBC to host Iraq’s President and government ministers during upcoming official visit to the UK.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it will be hosting H.E. Dr Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq, and a number of high-ranking government ministers during their upcoming official visit to the UK next week.

In addition to their other appointments, the Iraqi delegation will be joining IBBC for an exclusive members’ dinner in central London on the evening of Wednesday 26th June, while some of the ministers will also be attending IBBC’s Cumberland Lodge Retreat in Windsor Park from 28th-30th June.

Iraqi officials in attendance at IBBC events next week include:

  • Mr Mohamed Ali Abdelamir Mahmood Alhakim, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr Qusay Abdul-Wahab Abboud Al-Suhail, Minister of Higher Education
  • Dr Aladin Abdulsahib Hasan Alwan, Minister of Health and Environment
  • Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister of Housing, Construction & Municipalities and Deputy Head of Refaato
  • Dr Abdulkariem Faisal, Chairman of the PM’s Advisory Commission
  • Dr Hameed Ahmed, Deputy Chairman of the PM’s Advisory Commission
  • Dr Fallah Alamri, Advisor to the Ministry of Oil
  • Dr Salih Husain Ali, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to UK

IBBC’s events with these dignitaries offer members unique access to high-ranking Iraqi officials and industry leaders which would otherwise be unavailable.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed two new members.

  • Protechnique — a British contractor providing premier technical, engineering, construction, management and capacity building support throughout the world; to federal, regional, and local government agencies, as well as private industries and multi-lateral agencies;
  • UniHouse — a global professional training, consultancy and education service provider based in Jordan.

(Source: IBBC)

Address by Dr Victoria Lindsay, British Council Country Director for Iraq, to the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC)‘s International Tech Conference in Baghdad:

The fourth Industrial Revolution underway and it is technology changing the world and the way we live.

Globalization means it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore developments such as automation, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, mobile and cloud technology and the Internet of things; E-commerce is changing banking and shopping habits creating an increasingly globalized economy.

So far too little attention has been paid to the implementation of e-commence and the impact of this seismic shift on education and the educational infrastructure required to support e-commerce growth.

Skills and Education Disruption and Digital Literacy

The rapid changes described above are leading to skills disruption; a change in the nature of jobs available, and the work that people can undertake. This evolving need is driving a demand for new and adaptable skill sets. Alongside of this the nature of learning is also changing; no longer are students required to learn by rote instead they need to be able to locate, evaluate and use information. Education at all levels needs to change to support this shifting landscape.

These changes in education can be divided into three areas:

  • Firstly, those who study computer science education: the computer science graduates and professionals who are required to develop and maintain e-commerce and other systems;
  • Secondly e-commerce education itself: entrepreneurs and businessmen and women who need to understand how e- commerce and the online environment works;
  • Thirdly, the users who will require sufficient levels of digital literacy to be able to use online platforms and trust e-commerce and services become increasingly available online.

Digital literacy has been defined by organisations such as the Global Digital Literacy Council and can be evidenced by certificates such as the IC3 Global Standard; however, considering more fully and at individual level, digital literacy is a skill set that is more advanced than certification. Being sufficiently digitally literate to interact with an online world is beyond the ability to use computer programmes such as Word for Windows. It includes the skills to access and judge the value of information; ability to identify fake news and to use a search engine to locate trusted information, advice and guidance.

Digital literacy also includes the proficiency to interact with others in a global world using devices for synchronous and asynchronous communication. Digital users are also required to have developed their social emotional skills in this new environment; what is described as cyber awareness, navigating a world with trolling, flashing and phishing.

Lastly, digitally literate users require photo visual skills, the ability to navigate and read sources such as websites and to have learnt basic motor skills to connect and navigate an ever increasing variety of changing devices.

Turning now to each of these diverse but related areas of education.

Computing Education

Now and in the future those studying computer education will be providing the technological support and expertise that will support domestic economic growth via IT advancement, software, infrastructure and devices. They require a rapid and responsive curriculum which focuses on underpinning knowledge as well current and potential future programming skills.

Key to success will be the development of skills which will allow further development and adaptation that will support future developments. Related to this but not explored here in detail is the need for wider-reaching skills and knowledge that support the e-environment; for example, legislation and international business.

e-Commerce Education

The second area to consider is the implications for e-commerce education. A growth area will be short professional courses which will be delivered by commercial providers. Within formal education stand alone modules and extra curricular activity will develop to meet student demand. Longer term dedicated undergraduate and post graduate degrees will emerge.

These courses will provide students and attendees with sufficient knowledge to be able to make informed technical and marketing decisions relating to online business. Content might, for example, include the development of an e-catalog (product range), understanding of secure web servers and protocols, the development of a graphic user interface, underlying processing e-commerce engines and databases and communications management systems.

Digital Literacy

Finally, there is a need to consider the implications of a shift to e-commerce and e-society to digital literacy education. Users need to be able to use and understand mobile devices and the online environment. This could be achieved through a combination of formal education and informal learning through modeling innovators and early adopters.

Caution here is required when we think of younger generations, the so called Digital Natives — those considered, by their age or social demographic to be natural immersed in the online world. Research shows that these assumptions may be incorrect, and that although technologically familiar with devices, Generation Z struggles to evaluate and assess the validity of information.

It is also, at this point, worth highlighting those who will be left behind and the need to maintain a minimum level of service for those unable due to poor education (illiteracy), location (poor bandwidth) or social demographic (limited funds) who will be excluded from the digital revolution. Services and products whose services are essential to these customers should carefully consider a move into e-commerce to balance both current and future needs with social responsibility.

Recommendations

So, with regard to the next steps, the following recommendations can be made. The development of a Computing Education Plan to meet the technical needs, an E-commerce Education plan to meet the needs of innovators and entrepreneurs who will be in the vanguard of this shift change, and a digital literacy plan that raises users skills.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed four new members, bringing its membership to 71 companies:

Crescent Petroleum: Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum is the only foreign oil and gas company to maintain a continuous presence in Iraq for three decades, and is the largest private oil and gas investor in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Sardar Trading Agencies (STA): One of the core companies of Sardar Group, with more than 50 years of experience in the Iraqi private business field, mainly in the automotive segment.

Stirling Education: The Luxembourg-based company is committed to providing excellent affordable education and pastoral care for students in Iraq. Across Iraq, they have around 17,000 students, 42 schools and two university campuses.

Tube Tech International: UK-based Tube Tech is a world leader in the removal of fouling from refinery, petrochemical and energy process assets.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held Iraq’s first International Tech Conference in Baghdad at the Babylon Rotana Baghdad Hotel on 30 April, hosting government ministers, private industry, entrepreneurs, investors, and representatives from the leading UK and Iraq Tech companies.

The purpose of the Conference was to drive confidence, investment and awareness of the power of the new tech economy and how it can benefit Iraq.

The event – Iraq Tech Conference – was led by Ashley Goodall, IBBC’s Marketing Adviser. Keynote addresses were given by H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Mr Ashraf Al Dahan, Chairman of the CMC Board of Commissioners.

The agenda for the day comprised four panels: Consumer Tech panel, E-Government Panel, Business Fintech and a Consumer Fintech Panel.

Fintech in particular is making strides forward with the blessing of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), as Mr Waleed Eidi, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank, explained and encouraged the adoption of steps to include Women, those excluded from banking and the digital economy and young people.

The CBI is being ambitious in encouraging banks and financial institutions to modernise and offer new ways to distribute the flow of funds for investment and those who need it. This will also have a big impact on the overall economy and growth.

Ahmed Elkady of EY echoed the importance of Fintech as he led the Consumer FinTech Panel discussion onto technical infrastructure and what needs to happen to grow the opportunity for financial transactions. He was ably supported by National Bank of Iraq’s Eyad Mahmoud and Roger Abboud of Arab Payment Systems – who are modernising banking transactions – and Douglas Way of Almaseer Insurance – who are enabling business to reduce risks and transact insurance products rapidly and scalably.

The conference also embodied eight presentations:

  • “How technology is driving the business and consumer world in Iraq and Internationally” by Zain Iraq;
  • Online Literacy” by Dr Victoria Lindsay, Country Director – Iraq for the British Council;
  • Automating & digitising BP and Iraq” by Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager-Iraq for BP;
  • Restrata Product Announcement” by Botan Osman, CEO for Restrata;
  • “Five One Labs” by Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs;
  • Blockchain and AI – The Future Talk” by Muhana Almrahleh, Director – Head of Information Technology Advisory for KPMG (Jordan); and,
  • How Re:Coded are Training the Next Generation of Technology Leaders in Iraq” by Zahra Shah, Country Manager-Iraq for Re:Coded.

Attendees were able to enjoy one-to-one meetings and conversations.

As part of the Tech Conference on April 30, IBBC hosted an Evening Reception for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups at The Station, Baghdad, the evening prior on 29 April. The evening, planned in partnership with Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet, showcased the growing tech community in the country and gave an outstanding platform for some of the leading start-ups and entrepreneurs in a more informal setting.

The participating start-ups pitched their business in 5 minutes to a panel of seven judges composed by: Mohammed Khudairi, Managing Partner of Khudairi Group and Founder of Iraq Tech Ventures; Hal Miran, CEO of MSelect and Founder of Bite.Tech and TechHub; Richard Greer, Venture Capital Investor in Asia, Middle East, & UK and Philanthropist in Northern Iraq; Zahra Shah, Iraq Country Manager for Re:Coded; Ali Ismail, Co-Founder of Fikraspace and Co-Founder & Partner of Solo Creative Studio; Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs and Maryam Allami, Advisor for Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Through this first international Tech Conference in Iraq, IBBC aims to provide a foundation, a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

More than 100 guests gathered at the Babylon Hotel in Baghdad on Tuesday to attend Iraq’s first Tech Conference.

Hosted by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and chaired by Ashley Goodall, the event brought together the leading companies involved in the technology sector in Iraq to discuss how the power of the tech economy can benefit the country.

Among the many speakers and contributors during the day, Mohammed Khudairi of Iraq Tech Ventures emphasised the need to create the right environment for innovative companies, adding:

“We want to create a cluster of inovation as they’ve done in San Francisco, as they’ve done in London, and in many other places around the world; Iraq has the skillset, the talent and the motivation to make this happen, and has a great path ahead of it over the coming years.”

Patricia Letayf of Five One Labs discussed the changes they’re working to bring about in Iraq:

“When you hear the word “Iraq” we want you to think of start-ups and innovation … we want Iraq to be a focal point and a competitive business environment.”

According to Mohammed al Hakim, of Careem Iraq:

“There is no lack of human capital in Iraq — there is a lack of investment in human capital in Iraq.”

The event, along with the Start-Up Championship the previous evening, forged connections between people from various disciplines and locations, and will doubtless be a starting point for many of tomorrow’s success stories.

 

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Iraqi tech start-up Sandoog has won the Iraq round of Arabnet‘s Start-up Championship.

The company aims to solve local logistical issues using an e-logistics solution that allows merchants to send, track and manage their deliveries, invoices and customer base anywhere in Iraq.

As part of the IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April, Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet hosted the competition on Monday at The Station Co-Working Space.

In front of a large audience, startups had five minutes to pitch their business to a panel of judges made up of angel and corporate investors, along with key industry leaders.

The top three businesses, which will be entered into Arabnet’s Regional Startup Championship in Beirut, were:

Also taking part and making impressive pitches were Alsaree3, Brsima, Dakakenna, Erbil Delivery, IOT Kids, Sumer Card, and Tabib Baghdad.