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 total amount of the Iranian exports to neighboring Iraq during the last Persian calendar year (March 2018- March 2019) hit a record high, the data released by Iran’s Customs Office showed.

During the last Iranian year, the Islamic Republic exported $9 billion worth of products to Iraq, indicating a 36 percent increase comparted to a year earlier, setting a new record in the bilateral trade between the two countries, the Customs Office report said.

The data also showed that the total value of Iran’s non-oil exports over the 12-month period amounted to $44 billion, with petrochemicals accounting for $14 bln of the exports.

The top export destination of Iran was China, according to the report.

Iran and Iraq have stepped up efforts in recent years to develop their ties in different areas, including economy and trade.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran back 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.

In February, the 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.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

It’s a money-making machine,” says garage owner Karhi Bakr, 59, about the import of secondhand car parts into the Kurdistan capital of Erbil.

Containers full of parts from cars written off after accidents in the West continue to pour into the city, which has become a major hub for the trade.

Some of the 200 or so Kurdish traders involved have become very rich, Bakr says. “Their profits are enormous. If I had a partner willing to invest, I would also go to Europe to collect used parts.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

The IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) is launching a Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April.

The Conference is showcasing leading Iraqi and International companies with the intention of building confidence for Tech initiatives within Iraq.

Iraq is at a pivotal point in its development as it revives and rebuilds its infrastructure, so now is an ideal time to review the opportunity that modernisation and tech could bring to the country. IBBC is keen to support modernisation and its benefits, and to share what we have learned in the UK.

With political leadership, a positive investment climate and the talent and interest among young people and the right educational skills, tech can take off in Iraq, in the way it has in the UK.

The conference aims to showcase the best tech companies in Iraq, to give confidence and support to those on the way up and to change perceptions about the country and encourage investment.

IBBC Marketing Consultant Ashley Goodall says:

“We believe that Technological applications can enable Iraq to become more productive and efficient and a drive for transparency, a mechanism for government payments, a means to interact with citizens, and a source of new employment opportunities for young people.”

Christophe Michels Managing Director of IBBC says:

“We are all excited about the prospect of holding this prestigious event for IBBC members, the Tech Community and the wider people of Iraq. We hope and expect it will have an impact on all audiences to encourage a more rapid uptake of technological expertise, skills, and investment in Iraq.”

Leading Iraqi companies include: Almaseer Insurance, Inspire Solutions, Zain Telecom, Careem, Switch, Media World, Zain Pay, National Bank of Iraq, KRG, Onyxes, Re:coded, Five One Labs, Khudairi Group, Iraq Tech ventures, Arabnet, Central Bank of Iraq and many international groups such as BP, PWC, EY Iraq, KPMG, Finastra and many more. The Governor of Central Bank of Iraq kindly confirmed his attendance.

IBBC want to provide a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq. Come and join the new wave and help modernise Iraq.

The IBBC Tech Conference is taking place in Baghdad, the Babylon Hotel on 30th April with an Entrepreneurs event on 29th April.

For information and registration https://www.ibbctechconference.org/

To register to Entrepreneurs event on 29th April: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-battle-baghdad-tickets-60109360716

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)

The IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) is launching a Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April.

The Conference is showcasing leading Iraqi and International companies with the intention of building confidence for Tech initiatives within Iraq.

Iraq is at a pivotal point in its development as it revives and rebuilds its infrastructure, so now is an ideal time to review the opportunity that modernisation and tech could bring to the country. IBBC is keen to support modernisation and its benefits, and to share what we have learned in the UK.

With political leadership, a positive investment climate and the talent and interest among young people and the right educational skills, tech can take off in Iraq, in the way it has in the UK.

The conference aims to showcase the best tech companies in Iraq, to give confidence and support to those on the way up and to change perceptions about the country and encourage investment.

IBBC Marketing Consultant Ashley Goodall says:

“We believe that Technological applications can enable Iraq to become more productive and efficient and a drive for transparency, a mechanism for government payments, a means to interact with citizens, and a source of new employment opportunities for young people.”

Christophe Michels Managing Director of IBBC says:

“We are all excited about the prospect of holding this prestigious event for IBBC members, the Tech Community and the wider people of Iraq. We hope and expect it will have an impact on all audiences to encourage a more rapid uptake of technological expertise, skills, and investment in Iraq.”

Leading Iraqi companies include: Almaseer Insurance, Inspire Solutions, Zain Telecom, Careem, Switch, Media World, Zain Pay, National Bank of Iraq, KRG, Onyxes, Re:coded, Five One Labs, Khudairi Group, Iraq Tech ventures, Arabnet, Central Bank of Iraq and many international groups such as BP, PWC, EY Iraq, KPMG, Finastra and many more. The Governor of Central Bank of Iraq kindly confirmed his attendance.

IBBC want to provide a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq. Come and join the new wave and help modernise Iraq.

The IBBC Tech Conference is taking place in Baghdad, the Babylon Hotel on 30th April with an Entrepreneurs event on 29th April.

For information and registration https://www.ibbctechconference.org/

To register to Entrepreneurs event on 29th April: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-battle-baghdad-tickets-60109360716

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)

UK International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP has visited Baghdad for a three-day visit (Sunday, 14 April to Tuesday, 16 April 2019) where he met with the Iraqi Prime Minister and announced that UK Export Finance (UKEF) will make an additional £1 billion of support available for British firms operating in Iraq, providing jobs and promoting stability in the region.

In the first visit to Iraq by a cabinet minister for more than a year, Dr Fox will be meeting with senior Iraqis including the Prime Minister and President to discuss the bilateral trading relationship.

Alongside the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mehdi, the Trade Secretary announced that UK Export Finance is making an additional £1 billion available to support UK exports to Iraq, bringing its total support for the country to £2 billion.

The measure is designed to promote Iraq’s economic development and nation-building, ensuring that UKEF can continue to help the Government of Iraq deliver critical infrastructure.

To date, UKEF has deployed its existing capacity for Iraq, providing around £1 billion in support for projects including:

  • A US$35 million (£26 million) loan for the scoping phase of a water and wastewater treatment project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq provided by UK company Biwater
  • US$1.02 billion (£770 million) to support Enka UK and GE to build 2 new gas-fired power stations in the Basra region and UK-based GE Grid Solutions to build and refurbish 14 electricity sub-stations across Iraq
  • support for a €30.2 million (£26 million) Siemens UK contract to refurbish the 320-megawatt Al Mussaib power station in southern Iraq
  • a loan to support a US$220 million (£169 million) contract being undertaken by a UK subsidiary of GE to refurbish gas-fired power stations

This support is available to UK companies selling to Iraq or investing in the country and will help the Government of Iraq access finance for projects that source goods and services from the UK.

The International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

The atmosphere in Baghdad is one of optimism – it is a country which is having an increasingly stable period at a time of significant unrest in the wider region. The British government, working closely with the UK private sector and our Iraqi partners, have a key role to play in the country’s long-term prosperity. The £1 billion we have announced today will significantly strengthen our ability to do just that.

“Iraq’s future is bright, and my international economic department will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it maintains this stability, allowing the hard work of its talented citizens to flourish for the benefit of all.

“Trade is about more than economic self-interest, it is the means through which we deliver the mutual prosperity that underpins our collective security. That is the true prize of trade policy and promotion done right.

During the visit, the Trade Secretary will speak to young Iraqi entrepreneurs who are working to create a more vibrant private sector to support the long-term stabilisation and prosperity of Iraq. He will also meet British firms operating in-country whose investments are vital in the country’s rebuilding efforts.

Siemens UK is improving the electricity supply in Iraq using UKEF finance. Steve Scrimshaw, Country Lead, Gas and Power UK and Ireland, Siemens UK, said:

We are delighted this additional funding has been made available for ongoing regeneration in Iraq and look forward to working with UKEF and the Iraqi government on future opportunities.

“Siemens has already benefited from UKEF support for work on the refurbishment of the Al Mussaib power plant. This will be vital for the people of Iraq who will benefit from both the power and the jobs it will create. With work being delivered from our Newcastle business, it is also helping to secure jobs in the UK.

(Source: UK FCO)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Container Terminal (ICT) at Umm Qasr Port has reportedly handled container traffic of two million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) since operations started less than nine years ago.

According to Hellenic Shipping News, the joint venture between UAE-based Gulftainer and the General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI) started operations at Berth 8 in the South Port in August 2010, followed by Berth 11 in the North Port in 2012.

It adds that the ICT is equipped with two Mitsubishi ship-to-shore gantry cranes, supported by two Gottwald mobile harbour cranes with a 100 t lifting capacity, in addition to container-handling equipment including 18 reach stackers, two empty handlers and 28 terminal tractors; it currently employs 250 locals and 50 expatriates.

(Source: Hellenic Shipping News)

By John Lee.

Iraq, Iran and Syria are reportedly planning to build a railway connecting the three countries.

According to media reports, Salib al-Hussaini, the head of the Iraqi Railway Company, has announced a tripartite summit to discuss the project.

(Source: Prensa Latina)

(Picture credit: Christian Lindgren)

The Iranian president’s chief of staff said Tehran and Baghdad have agreed to establish five joint industrial parks, including one in Iran’s border province of Kurdistan.

Speaking at a meeting on economic development of Kurdistan in the city of Sanandaj on Saturday, Mahmoud Vaezi said Iran and Iraq have devised plans to set up five joint industrial parks.

One of them is scheduled to be built in the province of Kurdistan, he added.

Iran is the top exporter of goods to Iraq, Vaezi said, noting that Iraq and its Kurdistan Region provide a perfect opportunity for Iran to boost exports and deal with the cruel US sanctions.

During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Iraq in March, the two countries 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.

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

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London on 10 April, hosting officials from the UK and Iraqi Governments and delegates from the major companies operating in Iraq covering all sectors of the economy.

The conference was entitled ‘Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy’ and was organised in conjunction with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraq Private Banks League. H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance lead a high level delegation of Government officials alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mr Abbas Imran Mousa, DG Technical Department, Ministry of Transport, Dr Falah Al-Amiri, Councillor for Oil & Gas supplies to the Iraqi Minister of Oil,  officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Union of Private Banks and the Governors of Erbil and Sulamania.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan opened the conference alongside Alderman Sir William Russell, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak presented a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates received an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Britain Business Council and special awards were presented to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC as a token of gratitude for their contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

Dr Renad Mansour of Chatham House, produced a paper on ‘The present situation in Iraq’ which was commissioned especially for the IBBC conference.

Conference Sessions & Speakers

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chairman: Gavin Wishart, Consultant

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 Market & Investment Opportunities

Chairman: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taha, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; Abdulla al Qadi, Crescent Petroleum

Keynote Address: Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers

Oil & Gas

Chairman: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

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

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chairman: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

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

The IBBC is especially grateful to the sponsors of the event: Shell, the International Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered, Rolls-Royce and Eversheds Sutherland.

Our Partners, Speakers & Contributors

(Source: IBBC)