By John Lee.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is organising a Facilitating the Implementation of the IFSB Standards (FIS) Workshop in Baghdad, Iraq on 1 – 3 April 2019.

This Workshop is hosted by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBL).

The 3-day Workshop will focus on the following IFSB Standards:

  • IFSB-15: Revised Capital Adequacy Standard for Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services (IIFS);
  • GN-3:Guidance Note on the Practice of Smoothing the Profit Payout to Investment Account Holders;
  • GN-4:Guidance Note in Connection with the IFSB Capital Adequacy Standard: The Determination of Alpha in the Capital Adequacy Ratio for IIFS; and
  • GN-6:Guidance Note on Quantitative Measures for Liquidity Risk Management

Overall, the Workshop aims to:

  1. Enhance the participants’ understanding of the respective Standards and Guiding Principles;
  2. Assist the participants in the practical application of issues addressed in the particular standards through case studies, hands-on exercises and other interactive tools; and
  3. Promote the sharing of experiences among the participants on the implementation of respective IFSB Standards and Guiding Principles.

The FIS Workshops are a part of the IFSB’s support to its members based on the Strategic Key Result Area 2 (SKRA 2) on the Facilitating the Implementation of Prudential Standards and Capacity Development under the IFSB’s Strategic Performance Plan (SPP) 2016-2018”, to assist member organisations in adopting and implementing the IFSB Standards.

For enquires on IFSB workshops and membership services, please contact the IFSB Secretariat at ifsb_sec@ifsb.org.

(Source: IFSB)

By John Lee.

NIC Hosts Franchise Workshop which Aims to Expand the Activities of International Commercial Brands in Iraq

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC), in coordination with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Baghdad, has hosted a franchise granting workshop over four days for the Iraqi private sector to expand the activities of international commercial brands in Iraq.

Dr. Sami Al-Araji, NIC Chairman, said in his opening speech that Iraq is on its way to opening up its services sector by providing support to the Iraqi private sector, adding that obtaining the licenses of international commercial brands can provide important economic revenues represented by the opening up of the big world companies towards Iraqi Market and creating many job opportunities all over Iraqi provinces.

The US Counsel said that US franchisers are looking to Iraq as “a unique key market“.

Ms. Mays al-Ebosy, the coordinator of the US Department of Commerce and the and the supervisor of the session, invited the attendees to open discussions to listen to the obstacles that face the Iraqi private sector. The second and third days of this workshop were dedicated to the provincial investment commissions (PICs) and promoting investment in provinces, while the fourth day focused on hotel investments to Iraq.

(Source: NIC)

By John Lee.

NIC Hosts Franchise Workshop which Aims to Expand the Activities of International Commercial Brands in Iraq

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC), in coordination with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Baghdad, has hosted a franchise granting workshop over four days for the Iraqi private sector to expand the activities of international commercial brands in Iraq.

Dr. Sami Al-Araji, NIC Chairman, said in his opening speech that Iraq is on its way to opening up its services sector by providing support to the Iraqi private sector, adding that obtaining the licenses of international commercial brands can provide important economic revenues represented by the opening up of the big world companies towards Iraqi Market and creating many job opportunities all over Iraqi provinces.

The US Counsel said that US franchisers are looking to Iraq as “a unique key market“.

Ms. Mays al-Ebosy, the coordinator of the US Department of Commerce and the and the supervisor of the session, invited the attendees to open discussions to listen to the obstacles that face the Iraqi private sector. The second and third days of this workshop were dedicated to the provincial investment commissions (PICs) and promoting investment in provinces, while the fourth day focused on hotel investments to Iraq.

(Source: NIC)

By John Lee.

NIC Hosts Franchise Workshop which Aims to Expand the Activities of International Commercial Brands in Iraq

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC), in coordination with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy in Baghdad, has hosted a franchise granting workshop over four days for the Iraqi private sector to expand the activities of international commercial brands in Iraq.

Dr. Sami Al-Araji, NIC Chairman, said in his opening speech that Iraq is on its way to opening up its services sector by providing support to the Iraqi private sector, adding that obtaining the licenses of international commercial brands can provide important economic revenues represented by the opening up of the big world companies towards Iraqi Market and creating many job opportunities all over Iraqi provinces.

The US Counsel said that US franchisers are looking to Iraq as “a unique key market“.

Ms. Mays al-Ebosy, the coordinator of the US Department of Commerce and the and the supervisor of the session, invited the attendees to open discussions to listen to the obstacles that face the Iraqi private sector. The second and third days of this workshop were dedicated to the provincial investment commissions (PICs) and promoting investment in provinces, while the fourth day focused on hotel investments to Iraq.

(Source: NIC)

Basrah Museum Opens New Sumer, Assyria And Babylonia Galleries

The official opening of three new galleries in the Basrah Museum on March 19th marks the completion of a project to refurbish all major exhibition space at the complex.

It is a further important milestone in the creation of a major hub for the protection and celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Southern Iraq.

The Sumer, Assyrian and Babylon Galleries will be opened by the end of March and will showcase objects tracing the history of Iraq from c. 3000 BCE to 550 BCE, including statues, cylinder seals, tablets, jewellery, statues, glassware and pottery from many eras from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and from the Basrah Museum’s original collection. This is the first time that the majority of the exhibits have been on public display in Basrah.

The project to open the new galleries is led by the Director of Antiquities and Heritage of Basrah Qahtan Al Abeed and supported by UK-based charity Friends of Basrah Museum. It includes training and development programmes in labelling, visitor services and museum techniques for staff and volunteers, as well as the creation of an education room for school parties and other young visitors.

The opening will be a tribute to the efforts, dedication and scholarship of leading archaeologist and FOBM Trustee, Lamia Al Gailani Werr who died unexpectedly in Jordan in January this year. Lamia was an unstinting supporter of the Basrah Museum and shared her experience and wisdom generously with cultural heritage specialists in Basrah and Baghdad as the project evolved.

This latest phase of the project was financed by the Cultural Protection Fund, managed by the British Council. It follows the opening of the Museum’s first gallery in 2016. The Basrah Gallery is devoted to the cultural heritage of the city and its environs. It was funded principally by a major grant from UK oil and gas company BP.

A grant extension funding the final phase of the project has been awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund and will focus on the opening of a museum library at the complex for students and academics and members of the public. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

(Source: Friends of Basrah Museum)

Basrah Museum Opens New Sumer, Assyria And Babylonia Galleries

The official opening of three new galleries in the Basrah Museum on March 19th marks the completion of a project to refurbish all major exhibition space at the complex.

It is a further important milestone in the creation of a major hub for the protection and celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Southern Iraq.

The Sumer, Assyrian and Babylon Galleries will be opened by the end of March and will showcase objects tracing the history of Iraq from c. 3000 BCE to 550 BCE, including statues, cylinder seals, tablets, jewellery, statues, glassware and pottery from many eras from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and from the Basrah Museum’s original collection. This is the first time that the majority of the exhibits have been on public display in Basrah.

The project to open the new galleries is led by the Director of Antiquities and Heritage of Basrah Qahtan Al Abeed and supported by UK-based charity Friends of Basrah Museum. It includes training and development programmes in labelling, visitor services and museum techniques for staff and volunteers, as well as the creation of an education room for school parties and other young visitors.

The opening will be a tribute to the efforts, dedication and scholarship of leading archaeologist and FOBM Trustee, Lamia Al Gailani Werr who died unexpectedly in Jordan in January this year. Lamia was an unstinting supporter of the Basrah Museum and shared her experience and wisdom generously with cultural heritage specialists in Basrah and Baghdad as the project evolved.

This latest phase of the project was financed by the Cultural Protection Fund, managed by the British Council. It follows the opening of the Museum’s first gallery in 2016. The Basrah Gallery is devoted to the cultural heritage of the city and its environs. It was funded principally by a major grant from UK oil and gas company BP.

A grant extension funding the final phase of the project has been awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund and will focus on the opening of a museum library at the complex for students and academics and members of the public. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

(Source: Friends of Basrah Museum)

Basrah Museum Opens New Sumer, Assyria And Babylonia Galleries

The official opening of three new galleries in the Basrah Museum on March 19th marks the completion of a project to refurbish all major exhibition space at the complex.

It is a further important milestone in the creation of a major hub for the protection and celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Southern Iraq.

The Sumer, Assyrian and Babylon Galleries will be opened by the end of March and will showcase objects tracing the history of Iraq from c. 3000 BCE to 550 BCE, including statues, cylinder seals, tablets, jewellery, statues, glassware and pottery from many eras from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and from the Basrah Museum’s original collection. This is the first time that the majority of the exhibits have been on public display in Basrah.

The project to open the new galleries is led by the Director of Antiquities and Heritage of Basrah Qahtan Al Abeed and supported by UK-based charity Friends of Basrah Museum. It includes training and development programmes in labelling, visitor services and museum techniques for staff and volunteers, as well as the creation of an education room for school parties and other young visitors.

The opening will be a tribute to the efforts, dedication and scholarship of leading archaeologist and FOBM Trustee, Lamia Al Gailani Werr who died unexpectedly in Jordan in January this year. Lamia was an unstinting supporter of the Basrah Museum and shared her experience and wisdom generously with cultural heritage specialists in Basrah and Baghdad as the project evolved.

This latest phase of the project was financed by the Cultural Protection Fund, managed by the British Council. It follows the opening of the Museum’s first gallery in 2016. The Basrah Gallery is devoted to the cultural heritage of the city and its environs. It was funded principally by a major grant from UK oil and gas company BP.

A grant extension funding the final phase of the project has been awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund and will focus on the opening of a museum library at the complex for students and academics and members of the public. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

(Source: Friends of Basrah Museum)

By John Lee.

Iraqi media reported on Thursday that an agreement was signed between the Iraqi Ministries of Education and Communication to cut internet service during the period of the next “ministerial examinations” (sic).

The Ministry of Communications denies the reports, adding that it wishes to assure the Iraqi public that there is no intention to cut off the internet under any circumstances, because it “affects the lifeblood of life in Iraq, causing it to be blocked or severely damaged by the Iraqi national economy and all life facilities in the country“.

The Ministry also calls upon the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Education to use other methods to combat exam fraud.

(Source: Ministry of Communications)

By Alexander Southworth, Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

Exploring Tech in Iraq: ‘Hackasuly – Promoting Tech Literacy for a New Generation of Iraqis’

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. In a country which has seen its fair share of weapon misuse over the last few decades Mandela’s quote could not be more relevant in the climate of present-day Iraq.

With a beleaguered state education system and struggling infrastructure, there exists a community within the Tech Sector that is trying to navigate these challenges and promote education of Iraqi youths through the cultivation of digital skills that will help them reach their goals and find meaningful employment.

In the IBBC’s Tech Series: Exploring Tech in Iraq, we speak to some of the innovators and founders of tech organisations making a difference in Iraq.

One such organisation, HackaSuly, is an initiative that aims to promote technology in Sulaimani, Kurdistan and wider Iraq through tech events, hackathons, meetups and to create a network of tech enthusiasts.

We spoke to one of the founders, Hero Mohammed, to find out more about HackaSuly’s events, how they are empowering young Iraqis, the inspiration behind the founding of the organisation and any advice she has to aspiring tech entrepreneurs.

I believe there is a great potential in Iraq for the tech-industry. The people of Iraq are hungry for stability, innovation and facilities after decades of war and conflict” – Hero Mohammed, Founder of HackaSuly

Growing up in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, Hero describes her desire to participate in coding challenges and tech events but due to a near complete lack of opportunities, this simply was not possible. In 2015, she helped organise HackaErbil, the first Hackathon in Iraq, which would inspire her to embark on a journey to help others in the community to have the opportunities her peers did not have as college students. Building on the success of that first event, Hero started by organising the first hackathon in Sulaimani with the help of some friends.

So how exactly does HackaSuly help young coders through its events? HackaSuly is trying to help young coders to develop their skills and match them with the existing tech market demands. In the meanwhile, they are encouraged to update themselves with cutting-edge technologies and tools.

Until now, they have had three different types of events.

  1. Meet and code (Co-founded with Razhan Hameed): regular weekly coding meetups for coders and people who are interested in coding to come together, collaborate and share their knowledge and skills.
  2. HackaSuly Hackathon (co-organised with Snur Hamid): an annual hackathon that brings together developers, designers and entrepreneurs to come up with ideas that have a technological implementation, form teams and develop their prototypes over a weekend.
  3. Suli Tech Festival (Co-founded and co-organised with Razhan Hameed in collaboration with five one labs): a day-long tech celebration in Sulaimani. The Festival brought together young innovators and members of the local tech community with leaders and companies in the industry. The goal was to help promote technology, generate more interest in the field, and expand knowledge of career opportunities (from the participant’s side) and potential hires (from the business’ side) in the tech industry in Sulaimani. The Festival contained a number of exciting events over the course of the day, including: a welcome speech by the Deputy Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government, a Coding Challenge, an Intro Workshop to Web Development, a Tech Career Fair and Project Presentations.

While events of this nature may be common in more tech-developed countries, their establishment in Iraq brings many serious challenges. Hero describes how their ideas and events are new to the society in general and the biggest challenge has being delivering their message. Explaining the events and ideas especially when seeking funds and support have been challenging. When they first started with the HackaSuly hackathon, there was significant difficultly making people within the tech industry, even professionals, understand what a hackathon is.

Support has been key to growing the operation, Hero states great support has been forthcoming from local and international NGOs and private sector companies, especially those that are operating within the Iraqi tech industry, many as part of their Social Responsibility programs. More support is necessary to keep momentum growing, especially government contributions.

“I can imagine HackaSuly in 5 years… A large tech community across the country working together to make technology an important sector for the economic development of Kurdistan and Iraq” – Hero Mohammed, Founder of HackaSuly

Inspired by her strong love of coding and tech, Hero is one of the inspiring young innovators that are driving tech literacy and interest in a new generation of Iraqis. By creating a community of tech enthusiasts in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, HackaSuly is empowering young people to believe in their abilities, learn new skills and create for themselves tech start-ups in Iraq’s fast growing tech Sector.

As Hero states: Access to new technologies can have many benefits for any developing countries. One such benefit is its impact on reducing the costs of production. Other ways technology is helping developing countries is by boosting economies through innovation, SMBs and advanced communication.

IBBC is holding a Tech Conference in Iraq in early 2019, where we aim to bring together the key innovators transforming the digital landscape in the country, explore solutions to better governance and industry reforms using technology and give a platform to young Iraqi entrepreneurs breaking the mould. For more information, and to get involved, please email: London@webuildiraq.org or visit: https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/tech-conference-in-baghdad.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

Qatar’s Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi has met with Iraq’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr Qusai al-Suhail in Qatar.

During the meeting they discussed cooperation in the fields of higher education and scientific research and ways to support and promote them.

(Source: Qatar News Agency)