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 John Lee.

The Trump administration has reportedly granted Iraq a further 90-day extension to the waiver exempting it from US sanctions on Iran.

CNBC quotes a senior State Department official as saying on condition of anonymity:

“While this waiver is intended to help Iraq mitigate energy shortages, we continue to discuss our Iran-related sanctions with our partners in Iraq.”

According to some energy analysts, without continued sanctions exemptions, Iraq could lose more than a third of its power overnight.

More here.

(Source: CNBC)

By John Lee.

US-based QSC has announced that GSL Professional will begin distributing QSC Systems and Live Sound portfolios in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, including Iraq, beginning 1 July 2019.

Ron Marchant, Senior Director Sales Management, QSC EMEASA, said:

As QSC continues to expand the Q-SYS Ecosystem and Live Sound portfolio and focus on specific vertical markets, we look forward to working with GSL Professional to provide new and existing customers the service and support needed in order to accelerate growth in the region.

Adrian Curtis, Managing Director, GSL Professional, said:

“As QSC continues to become a force in the market, GSL is the ideal partner to provide the technical expertise and design consult to ensure customers understand the breadth of the QSC portfolio while helping them deliver real business outcomes.”

(Source: QSC)

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)

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to reach the target of raising the value of annual trade exchange to $20 billion within the next two years.

Speaking at a TV program on Wednesday, Rahmani stressed the need to exploit the potential of Iran and Iraq for industrial and trade cooperation.

He added that the $20-billion annual trade target that the two neighbors have set is expected to be met in the not-so-distant future.

Rahmani, who was part of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s entourage during a landmark visit to Iraq earlier this week, said the two governments have agreed to get the most out of economic opportunities by 2021.

During the presidential visit to Iraq, the two countries’ official signed five deals to promote cooperation in various fields.

The documents entail cooperation between Iran and Iraq concerning the Basra-Shalamcheh railroad project, visa facilitation for investors, cooperation in the health sector, and agreements between the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade of Iran and Ministry of Trade of Iraq, and another one in the field of oil between the petroleum ministries of the two countries.

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.

A few days ago, 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.

He said 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.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to reach the target of raising the value of annual trade exchange to $20 billion within the next two years.

Speaking at a TV program on Wednesday, Rahmani stressed the need to exploit the potential of Iran and Iraq for industrial and trade cooperation.

He added that the $20-billion annual trade target that the two neighbors have set is expected to be met in the not-so-distant future.

Rahmani, who was part of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s entourage during a landmark visit to Iraq earlier this week, said the two governments have agreed to get the most out of economic opportunities by 2021.

During the presidential visit to Iraq, the two countries’ official signed five deals to promote cooperation in various fields.

The documents entail cooperation between Iran and Iraq concerning the Basra-Shalamcheh railroad project, visa facilitation for investors, cooperation in the health sector, and agreements between the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade of Iran and Ministry of Trade of Iraq, and another one in the field of oil between the petroleum ministries of the two countries.

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.

A few days ago, 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.

He said 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.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Jordan and Iraq have reportedly started studies to create a joint free industrial zone on their shared border.

A Jordanian government official told Xinhua that an Iraqi delegation visited Jordan this week to check the capacity of factories that will benefit from a decision by Iraq to exempt commodities — including plastics, pharmaceuticals, detergents, chemical materials and food products — from custom duties.

It is expected that the new free-zone will create allow Iraqi businesses to benefit from exemptions and advantages under free trade agreements that Jordan has signed with several countries.

It will also help to increase Jordanian exports to Iraq, which rose by 26.7 percent in 2018 to 465.9 million Jordanian dinars (3.9 million U.S. dollars).

(Source: Xinhua)

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.

Iraqi officials stress need to boost Arab ties while balancing relations with Iran

The Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah hosted the sixth-annual Sulaimaniyah Forum on March 6-7, where discussions focused on Iraq’s strategic significance in the region. During the forum, Iraqi officials and their Arab counterparts called for Iraq to re-embrace strong ties with its Arab neighbors and strike a balance in its ties with Iran.

This year’s forum was held under the motto “Iraq and Its Neighbors: Toward a New Regional Order.

Iraqi President Barham Salih (pictured) said on the first day of the forum that Iraq is striving to bring together different viewpoints in the region based on its depth of ties with Arabic and Gulf states, assuring that this will bring major economic developments to the country and help solve the security crisis. Iraq is capable of being an “arena for consensus and reconciliation among the countries of the region,” he noted.

Click here to read the full story.