By Maurizio Coppola for openDemocracy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While the Iraqi government imposes a curfew and some cities close schools, universities and malls to limit the spread of the coronavirus, living conditions are getting more and more precarious due to lack of social and health protection.

Social protests are shrinking due to risk and fear of contagion, but tens of thousands of people continue to build popular solidarity.

The coronavirus has now reached the Middle East and North Africa and is having a serious impact on people’s daily lives.

Today, the virus is also producing important changes with regard to the social protests that had begun to rock a number of states in the region in the past year.

More here.

(Source: openDemocracy)

By Maurizio Coppola for openDemocracy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While the Iraqi government imposes a curfew and some cities close schools, universities and malls to limit the spread of the coronavirus, living conditions are getting more and more precarious due to lack of social and health protection.

Social protests are shrinking due to risk and fear of contagion, but tens of thousands of people continue to build popular solidarity.

The coronavirus has now reached the Middle East and North Africa and is having a serious impact on people’s daily lives.

Today, the virus is also producing important changes with regard to the social protests that had begun to rock a number of states in the region in the past year.

More here.

(Source: openDemocracy)

By John Lee.

Russia’s Gazprom Neft has reportedly said it will not reduce investment in its projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, despite a request from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to do so.

Reuters reports that following a slump in oil prices, oil producers have been asked to reduce their investments, which governments often have to partially reimburse as part of their contractual arrangements.

Gazprom Neft holds a participating interest of 40 percent in the Garmian block and 80 percent in the Halabja and Shakal blocks. The Sarqala field is located within the Garmian block.

More here.

(Source: Ekurd, Reuters)

By John Lee.

The coronavirus pandemic has reportedly led to thousands of new jobs to truck drivers in the Kurdistan Region.

According to a report from Rudaw, while the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan has been closed to tourists and truckers alike, freight is being transferred to local truck drivers to be delivered to destinations in the region.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it has made the difficult decision to cancel its annual “In Their Shoes” 5K run, originally scheduled for June.

In a statement, the ICF also renewed its call for donations to help it support Iraqi children and their families:

Dear friends,

At ICF, our highest priority is the health and safety of Iraqi children, and of our community of wonderful supporters around the world. With this in mind, and considering the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our “In Their Shoes” 5K in June this year.

While we are disappointed that we will not get to meet in person in June, we need your support now more than ever. Iraqi children and their families face many of the biggest challenges imaginable, now including the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We are committed to continuing to support these children with essential services including healthcare and nutrition, and we will continue to update you with how we are responding to the ever-evolving challenge of the current pandemic.

Please watch this space for more information about how you can support and help us grow our community. We look forward to staying in touch virtually for now, and we will look forward to seeing you for our “In Their Shoes” 5K in 2021.

We will be in touch with anyone who has registered online for the 5K already to outline next steps. If you have the capacity to donate at this critical time, please click the button below. Thank you for your ongoing support; together we will continue to work to protect the vulnerable orphans and street children of Iraq.

With love,

The ICF Team

 

By Adnan Abu Zeed and Dana Taib Menmy for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi prime minister-designate faces challenges in gaining political support

As Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adnan al-Zurfi struggles to secure adequate parliamentary votes for his candidacy, Iraqi political parties are uncertain about whether they should support him, find a new candidate or even keep caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in office.

President Barham Salih nominated Zurfi on March 17. He must now form a cabinet and obtain parliamentary approval for that Cabinet by April 17 to become prime minister.

Click here to read the full story.

The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 1.3 million towards UNFPA interventions for integrated lifesaving reproductive health and gender-based violence services to vulnerable women and girls in five governorates across Iraq.

UNFPA has been adopting an integrated approach to enable women and girls to receive a comprehensive package of services, continuum of care, as well as timely referrals.

The Japanese contribution will ensure that 40,000 women and girls, out of whom 25,000 are pregnant women, from the IDP, returnee, and refugees in the humanitarian settings in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din governorates, have access to prevention and response to reproductive health and gender-based violence services which include awareness-raising sessions and case management, as well as consultations and treatment.

In addition, the new commitment will enable UNFPA to improve the capacity of national service providers, especially female caregivers, to deliver high-quality assistance, including psychosocial and referral services in the targeted five governorates.

Dr Oluremi Sogunro, UNFPA Representative to Iraq, said:

We are thankful for Japan’s trust in UNFPA programme in Iraq … Women and girls continue to suffer from the impact of the humanitarian crisis.

“Thanks to Japan’s trust, we will ensure that not only we provide the muchneeded reproductive health and gender-based violence services but we strengthen the existing national capacities to build the resilience of the system.”

His Excellency Mr Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, stated:

“Japan has recently decided to provide a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to USD 41 million including this project as assistance for women and girls.

“With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$ 540 million since 2014. I hope that the assistance from the Government and people of Japan will help ensure protection of women and girls among IDP, returnee and refugees.”

Japan has been a UNFPA long-standing partner with contributions amounting to a total of US$ 11,852,085 over the last five years ensuring women and girls across Iraq have access to health and protection services.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled

(Source: UN)

Intelyse, a Sicuro Group company, has announced that it is will provide extraction flights for clients to get them home from Iraq.

It will fly people from Baghdad and Erbil to Doha, using a 150-seat Boeing 737-700.

The first flight goes into Iraq next week with a further two flights to follow.

(Source: Sicuro)

By John Lee.

UAE-based Dana Gas is reported to be considering spinning off its upstream business, which would include its 35-percent stake in Pearl Petroleum, which owns the righs to the Khor Mor (pictured) and Chemchemal fields in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

TradeArabia quotes Hamid Jafar, Chairman of Dana Gas, as saying:

“We are studying the feasibility of a demerger as we believe it could be value accretive for our shareholders.”

The new company would also be listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX).

More here.

(Source: TradeArabia)

Ambassador Stephen Hickey addresses IBBC members via videoconference

Over 50 Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members yesterday participated in a video conference call with Ambassador Stephen Hickey, from his office in the UK Baghdad Embassy.

The Ambassador updated members on the current situation in Iraq, covering four key areas of interest: COVID 19 response and challenges, The Political landscape and implications for Government , the Economy and impact of oil prices, and Security and how this is impacting on coalition activity in the region.

The Ambassador took questions from a number of members concerned about decision making within Government at this time of uncertainty, the role and support of UKEF regarding on going projects, the role of the dollar and local currencies, the likely nature of a new Government, and the general outlook for Iraq.

Feedback from the Conference suggests videoconferencing will become a regular feature of IBBC activity and reporting, due to the high volume of attendees, and IBBC expect to set up regular calls with Ministers, institutions and officials to engage with members directly and as a group.

(Source: IBBC)