By John Lee.

The Financial Times has reported that the recently-agreed electricity deals with Siemens and General Electric (GE) are not certain to be approved.

It quotes Minister for Electricity Luay Al-Khatteeb (pictured) as saying:

“I don’t have financial allocations or the processes available at hand, it doesn’t allow me to cherry-pick the right consultancies to deal with these multibillion-dollar deals. The bureaucracy that I inherited is . . . illogical. … certainly it’s going to be quite challenging to blindly accept such proposals.”

Al-Khatteeb took his post after the non-binding deals, or “principles of co-operation” were agreed with his predecessor, Qasim Al Fahdawi.

He said he that “volunteer experts” are helping “read in between the lines of these sophisticated legal contractual documents.

Last month, Lisa Davis, CEO of the Siemens Gas and Power Operating Company, and member of the corporation’s managing board, told The National last week that “discussions are ongoing.

More here.

(Source: Financial Times)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi received Baroness Emma Nicholson, the Chairman of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), at his office on Sunday to discuss cooperation between Iraqi and British businesses, and proposed investment projects in Iraq.

The Prime Minister said that stability in Iraq provides an opportunity to increase reconstruction efforts, and welcomed cooperation between Iraqi and British companies through the IBBC.

Baroness Nicholson praised developments in Iraq, expressing the desire to expand cooperation and partnership further.

(Source: Media office of the prime minister)

IBBC signs Memorandum of Understanding with the German Liaison Office for Commerce & Industry

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and the German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq (DWI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation between the organisations to support and grow trade between the UK, Europe and Iraq.

The cooperation will involve reciprocatory promotion of events, the organising of joint events and invitation to major events.

The German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq (DWI) Baghdad and Erbil is the representative office of the German economy in Iraq and accomplishes the tasks of the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK). It was founded in 2010 and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) of the Federal Republic of Germany. They currently support about 600 companies, among them about 30 German company branches working in Iraq or in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. In addition to representing the interests of German companies, he German Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Iraq supports the economic exchange between Iraq and Germany.

IBBC is delighted to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding, which further boosts our growing international network for the benefit of our members and the people of Iraq.

For more information on DWI, visit: http://irak.ahk.de/en/about-us/

You can see the full list of IBBC partners here.

(Source: IBBC)

High-ranking officials from Iran and Iraq on Friday signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and a contract to boost cooperation between the two countries in the electricity industry.

At the end of his three-day visit to Iran, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb signed two MoUs and a contract on the electric industry with Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ardakanian said, “What is happening today as a result of the Iraqi minister of electricity’s visit to Iran and the negotiations that took place during this visit is the beginning of a new chapter in the comprehensive cooperation between the two countries in the field of electrical industry.”

“Within the framework of this cooperation, we intend to not only continue electricity exports as long as and as much as required by our Iraqi brothers and sisters, but also cooperate with them in technical terms… in the field of electricity,” he added.

The agreements came as 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.

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)

High-ranking officials from Iran and Iraq on Friday signed two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and a contract to boost cooperation between the two countries in the electricity industry.

At the end of his three-day visit to Iran, Iraqi Minister of Electricity Luay al-Khatteeb signed two MoUs and a contract on the electric industry with Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ardakanian said, “What is happening today as a result of the Iraqi minister of electricity’s visit to Iran and the negotiations that took place during this visit is the beginning of a new chapter in the comprehensive cooperation between the two countries in the field of electrical industry.”

“Within the framework of this cooperation, we intend to not only continue electricity exports as long as and as much as required by our Iraqi brothers and sisters, but also cooperate with them in technical terms… in the field of electricity,” he added.

The agreements came as 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.

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.

UAE-based Rotana Hotels has signed a hotel management agreement with Al Ibaa Company to operate a five-star property in Baghdad.

Effective 1 February 2019, Rotana will operate the city’s famed Babylon Hotel under its new brand name Babylon Rotana Baghdad.

With a prime location next to the high-security Green Zone, close to the banks of the famous Tigris River and just 30 minutes’ drive from Baghdad International Airport, Babylon Rotana will offer long and short-staying guests alike all the comfort required for a pleasant and memorable stay experience.

Boasting avant-garde architecture, the hotel features 284 spacious and modern rooms and suites with stunning views of Baghdad’s skyline and the majestic Tigris River. The hotel’s striking pyramid design and extensive gardens are truly fitting to the Babylonian heritage of the city.

Imad Al Yasri, Chairman, Al Ibaa Company, commented:

“It gives us immense pleasure to partner with Rotana to operate our five-star property in Baghdad, and we are excited about the planned upgrade and refurbishment of the hotel. We are confident that the partnership with Rotana will present a compelling value proposition for our guests, employees, and stakeholders, and further drive our business growth. We look forward to working closely with Rotana to enhance the overall performance of the hotel, thereby contributing to the development of a thriving hospitality market in the capital city.”

Commenting on the agreement, Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO, Rotana, said:

“At Rotana, we are delighted to have made a strong start to the New Year with the signing of the agreement to operate the Babylon Rotana Baghdad. This new milestone is closely aligned with our vision to further deepen our footprint in the region and cement our leadership position in the hospitality sector.

As a result of its ambitious reconstruction efforts, Iraq has achieved tremendous progress in accelerating economic growth and development and improving the security environment in the country over the last few years. Likewise, the capital Baghdad has been experiencing a robust increase in the number of corporate and leisure travellers, thanks to its greater financial stability and rebounding tourism sector.

“With these prospects, the country is increasingly becoming an attractive market for hospitality investments. At Rotana, we will continue to seek new opportunities to further enhance our presence in this market.

Considered one of the city’s top dining destinations, the hotel’s offerings include five dining venues and a range of authentic regional and international cuisines, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. To cater to the needs of corporate travellers, the hotel offers an extensive business centre, fully-equipped meeting rooms and event venues, and a ballroom that can host up to 600 guests.

The hotel also features a host of entertainment and leisure offerings, including tennis courts, Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club, temperature controlled indoor and outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pools, and kids’ play facilities.

Babylon Rotana Baghdad will join the company’s three operating hotels in Iraq, including Erbil Rotana, Erbil Arjaan by Rotana, and Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana, bringing Rotana’s total inventory into 838 operating keys. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Rotana will open Slemani Rotana, Sulaymaniyah, adding 240 rooms to the country’s growing hospitality inventory.

(Source: Rotana)

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.

Transparency International has said that Iraq’s ranking has risen one place in its global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

From a total of 180 countries, Iraq came in at number 168; last year’s position was 169 out of 180 countries.

This result puts it on equal ranking with Venezuela, behind countries such as Chad, Congo and Angola, and just ahead of Burundi and Libya.

Denmark beat New Zealand to first place, with Somalia in last place.

Iran was ranked in 138th place.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.

More here.

By John Lee.

Turkey will reportedly provide around $5 billion in loans for the reconstruction of Iraq.

According to Anadolu Agency, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (pictured) told a meeting in Istanbul on Sunday:

“We will provide $5 billion credit … We have already begun coordination of these works for the reconstruction of Iraq,”

(Source: Anadolu Agency)