By John Lee.

Iraq has been ranked 171st out of 190 countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing Business 2019 report, down from 168th place the previous year.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, with last place going to Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela. Iran ranked 128th, with Libya 186th.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

More details here.

(Source: World Bank)

By John Lee.

Iraq has fallen one place in this year’s Legatum Institute Prosperity Index, ranking in 143rd place out of the 149 countries measured.

The index ranks countries according to its nine pillars of prosperity: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment.

Despite Iraq’s dismal performance, the report found some areas of improvement:

“Iraq … now ranks 80th for its level of democracy, up from 145th in 2008. It has improved from 147th to 138th in the overall Governance rankings in the same time period.”

The top three positions were unchanged from last year, with Norway scoring highest, followed by New Zealand and Finland.

The least prosperous country is Afghanistan, followed by the Central African Republic and Yemen.

(Source: Legatum Institute)

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) welcomes a contribution of NZD 250,000 (USD 160,000) from the Government of New Zealand and is grateful for the deployment of an in-kind Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Threat Mitigation Advisor to support explosive hazard management activities in Iraq.

Extensive conflict in Iraq involving the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Forces (Peshmerga) and other armed actors has resulted in the displacement of more than 5.8 million people between 2014 and 2017, amongst which 1.9 million are still displaced today and a significant increase in contamination from explosive remnants of war and IEDs in areas liberated from ISIL occupation.

The scale and complexity of the explosive hazard problem is substantial, unprecedented and exceeds existing and available response capacities. In Iraq, UNMAS is leading and coordinating a blended response to assist stabilization and humanitarian efforts supporting the return of displaced people to areas previously under ISIL occupation.

Given this challenging environment, the role of the IED Threat Mitigation Advisor is crucial to support UNMAS activities in Iraq and mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards. By analyzing information and technical data relating to the IED threat within the region, continually assessing the operational situation in Iraq for areas of improvement in efficiency, effectiveness and safety and conducting IED awareness briefings, the Advisor plays a key role in prioritizing, coordinating and implementing explosive hazard management projects. The financial contribution will also address gaps identified to support the work of the IED Threat Mitigation Advisor.

The Ambassador of New Zealand to Iraq, Mr. Bradley Sawden, participated in a field visit to Mosul last week. This was an opportunity to introduce the IED Threat Mitigation Advisor and to better understand his role and responsibilities in support of explosive hazard management with UNMAS in Iraq.

The Ambassador visited a few sites in West Mosul including Danedan 2 Water Treatment Plant, Al Shuhudaa Park and Al Maedan district, where clearance operations are ongoing or have just been completed. An extensive briefing about the task and the outcome of the clearance was delivered in each location.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Baghdad has again been ranked as the city with the world’s worst quality of living, according to the Mercer 2018 Quality of Living Survey.

Just ahead of it in the table of 231 cities are Sana’a in Yemen and Bangui in the Central African Republic.

Vienna again retains the top spot; Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third places, respectively.

Mercer evaluates local living conditions according to 39 different factors.

More information here.

(Source: Mercer)

By John Lee.

Iraq has been ranked 168th out of 190 countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing Business 2018 report, down from 165th place the previous year.

Despite the fall in the rankings, the report notes that over the previous year Iraq simplified the process of starting a business by combining multiple registration procedures and reducing the time to register a company, and it launched a new credit registry, improving access to credit information.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, with last place going to Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela. Iran ranked 124th, with Libya 185th.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

(Source: World Bank)

By John Lee.

Iraq has been ranked 168th out of 190 countries in the World Bank‘s recent Doing Business 2018 report, down from 165th place the previous year.

Despite the fall in the rankings, the report notes that over the previous year Iraq simplified the process of starting a business by combining multiple registration procedures and reducing the time to register a company, and it launched a new credit registry, improving access to credit information.

Top of the list were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, with last place going to Somalia, just behind Eritrea and Venezuela. Iran ranked 124th, with Libya 185th.

Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.

(Source: World Bank)

By John Lee.

Iraq has fallen one place in this year’s Legatum Institute Prosperity Index, ranking in 142nd place out of the 149 countries measured.

The index ranks countries according to its nine pillars of prosperity: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment.

Despite Iraq’s dismal performance, the report found some areas of improvement:

“While its prosperity has been hit hard by the presence of ISIS, Social Capital has improved more than any other pillar over the last five years. Over the same timeframe it has seen a greater increase in Social Capital than any other country. The sense here is that in the midst of violence, Iraqis do not let go of their relationships; rather, they strengthen them.”

It also noted that, “despite ongoing conflict, Iraq has improved its Personal Freedom score significantly in the last five years.”

But it also pointed out that, “with oil rents amounting to 29% of GDP, Iraq ranks bottom in the world for the diversity of its exports.

Norway re-gained its place at the top of the Index, pushing New Zealand into second place, with Finland maintaining its position in third place.

The least prosperous country is again Yemen, behind the Central African Republic and Sudan.

(Source: Legatum Institute)

The Government of New Zealand has contributed an additional US$1 million to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives in areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This brings the New Zealand’s total contribution to FFS to $2 million to date.

Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and local authorities, FFS helps quickly repair public infrastructure, provides grants to small businesses, boosts the capacity of local government, promotes civil engagement, and provides short-term employment through public works schemes.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

“The scale of destruction in western Mosul is the worst in the country. The electricity, water and sewage systems all need to be rehabilitated. Many schools and hospitals are either damaged or completely destroyed. Tens of thosuands of people need jobs. With so much to do, we are very grateful to New Zealand for stepping forward with this contribution at this key point in time.”

The Chargé d’Affaires for the New Zealand Embassy in Iraq, Ms. Anna Reid, said:

New Zealand congratulates the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Security Forces and the International Coalition on their ongoing success in defeating ISIL. Restoring core services and infrastructure is crucial to ensuring that people displaced by the conflict are able to return to their homes and communities.

“This further contribution to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, alongside our support to building capacity in the Iraqi Security Forces, demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to support stability in Iraq.”

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Ninewah, Diyala and Kirkuk Governorates. More than 1,200 projects are completed or being implemented across 23 locations. Since the start of the crisis, over 2.2 million people have returned to their homes.

(Source: UNDP)

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has today named Bradley Sawden as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Iraq.

New Zealand established an Embassy in Baghdad in 2015 to support New Zealand and Australia’s joint ‘Building Partner Capacity’ mission.

“This mission has trained over 20,000 Iraqi police and army personnel who are on the frontlines of the fight against Daesh,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Mr Sawden will be charged with supporting New Zealand’s non-combat training mission to Iraq and assessing how we can continue to support and build relations with the Iraqi government.

“In addition to leading New Zealand’s engagement with the Iraq government and providing diplomatic support to the training mission, our Embassy will also be responsible for maintaining relations with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq,” Mr Brownlee says.

Mr Sawden has been involved in national and international security issues across the defence and security sector of the New Zealand government.

His most recent posting was in New York as Counsellor at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations during New Zealand’s tenure as a member of the United Nations Security Council.

(Source: Government of NZ)

By John Lee.

Baghdad has again been ranked as the city with the world’s worst quality of living, according to the Mercer 2017 Quality of Living Survey.

Just ahead of it in the table of 231 cities are Sana’a in Yemen and Bangui in the Central African Republic.

Vienna again retains the top spot; Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third places, respectively.

Mercer evaluates local living conditions according to 39 different factors.

More information here.

(Source: Mercer)