The Governor of Anbar, Mr Ali Farhan Hameed, visited the UK this week as a guest of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) .

While here, he attended various meetings at Chatham House, UKEF, at roundtables with IBBC members and dinner in the House of Lords with Baroness Nicholson ( President of IBBC and PM Trade Envoy to Iraq)

Mr Hameed’s message is that Anbar province is open for business, is secure, and has defeated and rooted out ISIL. Anbar is on the look out specifically for British engineering companies to work on water projects. The province now has good, rebuilt infrastructure, and the benefits of large phosphate deposits, natural gas, and is locationally at the crossroads between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria. It seeks to reclaim its position as one of Iraq’s wealthier areas and has great opportunities for companies looking to establish businesses there.

Mr Hameed also attended the IBBC Christmas party, attended by Lord Green and Lord Robertson, vice presidents of IBBC, Mr Alastair Kett of PWC ( Deputy Chairman of IBBC) and Mr Rasmi El Jabri – deputy chairman IBBC ) and many new and original IBBC members and supporters, at the Royal Overseas League.

Mr Christophe Michels says’ that IBBC is ready and willing to facilitate any further introductions and initiatives with Anbar province, and we invited Mr Hameed following our own visit to Anbar in July 2019. We all look forward to a busy and successful year ahead.’ Season’s greetings and thanks to you all in our world.

(Source: IBBC)

IBBC host a roundtable discussion with His Excellency, Mr Jaafar Al-Sadr

On Wednesday 4th December the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a roundtable discussion chaired by IBBC President Baroness Nicholson with Iraq’s newly appointed Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency, Mr Jaafar Al-Sadr, and fellow diplomats Dr Ahmed Al-Nakash and Ms Hanaa Jawad.

The meeting was attended by several IBBC member representatives including from Al Hadeel Al Hassan LLC, Constellis, EAME, Ernst & Young, March Holdings, Mutual Finance Ltd, Perkins & Will, Protechnique, PWC, Rolls Royce, RSK, Shell, Unihouse Global and Xratech.

His Excellency, Mr Al-Sadr introduced himself and opened a constructive discussion on current affairs in Iraq.

Baroness Nicholson, gave a summary of the history of IBBC in Iraq, its membership and the many events and activities it supports Iraq and the UK.

There was a good interactive discussion which identified opportunities for further cooperation between IBBC, its members and the Government of Iraq. Baroness Nicholson noted that the IBBC and its members looked forward to working closely with the Ambassador in the months and years ahead, and HE Al-Sadr expressed his appreciation for the continuing support of IBBC and its many members.

(Source: IBBC)

On Tuesday 1st October the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a roundtable discussion chaired by IBBC President Baroness Nicholson with His Excellency, Chief Justice Faiq Zidan, who was visiting the United Kingdom as guest of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The meeting was attended by several IBBC member representatives including from Constellis, G4S Secure Solutions, Harcus Sinclair, Mosul University, Protechnique, PWC SPS and Unihouse Global.

Chief Justice Zidan introduced himself and summarised his career, which began in 1991 as a lawyer in Baghdad. He was appointed as a judge in Baghdad’s Civil Courts and Criminal Courts in 1999 and then Chief of the Central Investigative Court responsible for Combating Terrorism and Important Crimes in 2005. In 2012, Faiq was appointed to the Federal Court of Cassation as Vice-Chief in 2014 and in 2016 as Chief, a position he still holds today. He was appointed President of the Supreme Judicial Council in January 2017.

Christophe Michels, managing director of IBBC, gave a summary of the history of IBBC in Iraq, the make-up of its current membership and the many events and activities currently being organised in Iraq, Dubai and the UK.

Members reported on current legal and judicial challenges they face when operating in Iraq. His Excellency confirmed he was familiar with many of these issues and undertook to review them on his return to Iraq. He said he would be particularly interested in any legal or judicial interpretations that could discourage foreign investment.

Chief Justice Zidan further encouraged IBBC and its members to organise more encounters with Judges from Iraq and to also increase its exchanges with the Iraqi Parliament, a suggestion much welcomed by the IBBC management and members present.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that it has established a Health Sector Table.

This Table will be chaired by Professor David Kerr, Rhodes Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics, and Head of Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Oxford University.

It is being supported by the Iraqi Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr Ala Alwan, who attended its first meeting.

The Table’s first meeting was held at IBBC’s offices on the morning of Friday 28th June. Its purpose is to allow relevant member organisations to become involved in the further development of the Iraqi health sector.

Healthcare is a priority for IBBC, and the Minister will personally be liaising with this Table. Also present at this meeting were representatives of Almanseer Insurance, Serco, Protechnique, GE Healthcare, Perkins+Will UK, PwC, Management Partners, and The Amar Foundation.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

(Source: IBBC)

By

Chris Frost, the Chairman of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation’s Finance Committee, has retired from the position after five years at the helm.

Since he began his Chairmanship, Mr Frost has skilfully overseen AMAR’s already excellent financial arrangements.

A frequent visitor to Iraq and the wider Middle East region during his many years as a Partner at the multi-national professional services business, PwC, he has brought enormous experience and vast knowledge to the role.

Mr Frost, who was also a founder Board member of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) – AMAR’s sister organisation, recognised the vital importance of AMAR’s work to the Iraqi people.

However, he will not be leaving the AMAR family. Now that he has fully-retired from PwC, Mr Frost has been asked, and has accepted, a full-time position at the charity.  He will start as Treasurer on April 1st.

Mr Frost’s brief will be to oversee AMAR’s continued growth and development and strengthen the charity’s core principles; Good financial management, transparency, accountability and low administrative costs with high field output to defined, professional world class standards.

AMAR Chairman, Baroness Nicholson, said today that she was “absolutely delighted” to have persuaded Mr Frost to stay within the AMAR family:

People of Chris’s standing in the financial world are not available very often, so we had to strike while the iron was hot. He has done a fantastic job with our Financial Committee over the last five years, so we are very much looking forward to him working here on a full-time basis.”

“Chris will also travel to Basra, Baghdad and the North of Iraq regularly to meet and work with the local financial teams to develop an understanding of their working practices and help them work more effectively and efficiently.

Baroness Nicholson added:

“His particular background also allows us to implement our long-held plan to breakout with new fundraising approaches to funding institutions and city guilds.”

(Source: AMAR)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its bi-annual Council Meeting on 30 January, followed by a Reception & Dinner for IBBC members and guests.

Both the meeting and the reception and dinner were hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The Meeting was Chaired by IBBC’s Deputy Chairman Alistair Kett of PwC and discussed at length the current state of Iraq and presented over 30 members present with a detailed brief of events in the last six months.

The Council also discussed future events and the progress of IBBC’s Sector Tables. Several exciting new developments were reported, including the launch of a new Iraq Britain Business Council website, which is expected to go live in the coming weeks and the development of the Young Executives Network.

The Council Meeting was followed by a Reception & Dinner hosted by Baroness Nicholson in the House of Lords, where the 80 guests present were privileged to hear from Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade & Export Promotion at the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth and Minister of State at the Department for International Development.

After dinner, Ambassador Jon Wilks, her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq, gave an address to members, which highlighted his vision for UK-Iraq relations. The Ambassador spoke at length about the need for a coordinated and fruitful relationship between business communities of both countries to enhance the encouraging signs of stability witnessed in the last six months since the defeat of Daesh.

The Ambassador also touched upon the critical need to redevelop infrastructure in the newly liberated areas and the pivotal role of the private sector to facilitate further economic growth. Ambassador Wilks reaffirmed the Embassy’s longstanding commitment to promote trade and investment with the support of organisations such as the Iraq Britain Business Council.

Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC said:

“2017 has been an exceptional year for IBBC both in the volume and quality of attendees to our conferences in UK and Dubai, the very well attended and successful trade missions to Baghdad and Basrah and for the number of International and Iraqi companies that have joined our network.

“IBBC has welcomed Chevron, Al Burhan, Shamara, Ratba’a and Al Bilal groups, Leicester and Northampton University, Serco, Rolls Royce, MenziesAviation, GulfTek and Al Jaber Company. All in all we are seeing confidence and opportunity return to Iraq with overall economic perspectives for the country being at its best since 2010 – 2011.”

IBBC and its members are determined to build on these foundations to continue building economic and political ties, industry capabilities, knowledge sharing for UK, Iraqi and international businesses sharing the same high values and standards.

(Source: IBBC)

By Ashley Goodall.

How British Creativity can help Iraq and rebuild nations and communities.

As middle Eastern economies begin to realise dependency on oil is no longer an option, they are diversifying their economies and evolving their cultures to position for the future, key is creativity and the tech economy.

For many the’ Iraq’ word brings shivers of gloom. Whatever doomsters think, Iraqis still have to create a new future, free of rancour, prosperous and ultimately hopeful. The UK can really help them on this journey.

As IBBC companies rebuild the Infrastructure and economy of Iraq (Oil and gas, Power and engineering), the other big win that the UK can help Iraq with is ‘creativity. We can help leapfrog sectarian divides, bring the country together, inject pride and confidence and begin the process of nation building.

Two complimentary areas of expertise come neatly together to rebuild nations and communities: Architecture and Tech: The physical and virtual, the national and the communal, visual and intangible, shared and entrepreneurial, cultural and business.

In Architecture, Zaha Hadid’s amazing inspirational work to define and create Iconic cultural statements is being deployed for the new Central bak building nearing completion and the  Parliament building designed to build a sense of national identity and articulate a new aspirational narrative for Iraq. Charles Walker MD of Zaha Hadid believes architecture is a physical manifestation of a nation state and, particularly for countries that are recovering from conflict; architecture can play a reconciliatory role to build a new sense of nationhood and community.

Charles believes ‘buildings are the national landmarks that project a nation’s sense of itself through the semiotics of communal values .Zaha Hadid’s creative modernity frees nations to imagine the kind of visions they want to project about themselves. The scintillating new parliament building draws inspiration from the geological alluvial plane of the Tigris River and a cultural belief in civic democracy that indicates normality is returning to the country’.

Anne Kerr and Bob Philips of Mott MacDonald believe that planning and ‘Place making’ is fundamental to national and urban success. Anne says it can take 50 years to establish a ‘community’ in the broadest sense. Mott MacDonald’s ‘Placemaking’ brings together all aspects of community building – from the physical infrastructure, to provision of what holds a community together- education, health, a sense of purpose, buildings, mobility and economic prospects, work, and individuals’ sense of self-worth – iconic buildings and tech can help inspire and aggregate but the softer aspects of community building and capacity also have to be factored in.

As civil engineers Bob Philips says you can’t have social infrastructure unless an engineer designs and builds it and civil engineering provides for people – ‘Engineers make it happen’. Mott MacDonald’s work includes large International development projects and to make the idea of creating communities come alive. The consultancy launched its ‘Engineering Hope’ report to explain how to make fast communities, through place making and especially for the 60 million refugees currently living in camps.

‘Tech’ brings its own benefits and opportunities: The UK’s record in start-ups and the new tech industry is remarkable, Tech city was established in 2010 but this start up cluster now leads Europe , is second only to USA for investment . Key to consolidating tech is the recent location of Facebook , Google’ and Spotify’s headquarters to London, the location and power of the city to drive investment and knowledge in Fintech and a record volume of new tech businesses in London.

Tech ecologies grow fast and drive external perceptions of a country. Put together with a strong creative sector, design and film production, and London/UK becomes the leading location for film production, design and gaming, music and communications. Tech enables communities to flourish and interact in areas of interest beyond sectarian or religious boundaries. On line communities are strengthened by their interests and bring people together.. British and international tech is well placed to help build Iraqi communities, provide education and skills for young people on line, enable them to trade, to be entrepreneurial, retail and interact with the world beyond their borders.

In Iraq Yazen, MD of Zain Cash explains ‘Zain have set up clear objectives to close the current financial gap that left majority of the population unbanked.  We’re building financial services that meet current needs and assist in fuelling new digital economies. Services that are getting strong traction are electronic salary disbursement, electronic bill payment, and online payment solutions. A key success of Zain’s is a vast network  which we  are heavily investing in, to ensure convenient and accessible services for everyone, whether in rural and urban areas”

Fethi Kirdar of Moby group, a leading Media company, is encouraging the Iraqi government to support tech initiatives: ‘’to provide seed capital, low cost workshops and build the tech ecosystem, including promotion of E Government. Fethi says’ Iraqi young people already engage with high penetration of digital media, are keen on e-commerce and have the attitude, aptitude and ideas  to create tech solutions for the problems they see around them. The time is right and the audience is primed for take-off.’

Iraq’s young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs are finding business opportunities in mobile apps at a time when the government is strapped for cash and looking to the private sector to create jobs. Iraq has one of the most youthful populations in the world, with  60 percent of its 2015 estimate of 37 million people under the age of 25, according to the U.N. In a bid to create up to 250,000 private sector jobs, the government last year started a $5 billion loan initiative for small, medium and large projects called Tamwil, or Finance, which is run by the Central Bank.

Entrepreneurs are already versioning delivery apps like Wajbety, or My Meal, and  al-Khateeb launched an Uber style app called Ujra, or Fare according to Sinan Salaheddin of Associated press  Baghdad. Arabic App creation is a clear opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What Iraq needs now is direct investment in entrepreneurial tech start-ups and expertise from UK tech industry specialists willing to take a leap of faith to back the catch up opportunities Iraq offers. IBBC have a new tech group that will support and help you navigate Iraqi business, led by Botan Osman of Restrata, Zain and Alastair Kett’s PWC, are keen to attract new members who can take advantage of the opportunities for both tech and architectural reinvention and nation building that Iraq offers.

Once tech takes hold growth will be fast and positive. And, as with Architecture, the Brits now have a number of world class leaders like Zaha Hadid and Mott MacDonald to enable the rebuilding of Iraq’s communities as the Iraqi Government so requires.

Ashley Goodall is a martketing consultant to Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

twitter @IBBC_London

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraq Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (IEITI) published its seventh annual report (Report 2015) on 31 December 2016; a second annual report released in one year after it released its Report 2014 in March 2016 (though the written date was December 2015).

Releasing two annual reports in one year is an achievement by itself, which deserves praise and recognition. Moreover, this is in compliance with the new EITI standard requirement for releasing national annual reports by the compliant countries.

Furthermore, the Report provides very useful updates of and new data on some aspects on upstream petroleum and other petroleum industry sub-sectors.

Report 2015 was prepared, for the first time, by KPMG, the well-known international consulting firm, while the previous six annual IEITI reports were prepared by PwC and E&Y.

I am very grateful to my colleagues at the IEITI National Secretariat and MSG for providing me with copy of the Report once it was approved by the MSG.

Please click here to download Ahmed Mousa Jiyad’s full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya@online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has today announced changes to its leadership team.

Former IBBC Executive Chairman Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is now President of the 54-member organisation. Baroness Nicholson also serves as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Replacing Baroness Nicholson as Chairman is Mr Mohammed Charchafchi, Chairman and Chief Executive of Middle East telecoms giant Zain Iraq. Mr Charchafchi is a co-founder of the IBBC.

Two long-standing executive committee members, Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri of the Basrah Engineering Group and Mr Alistair Kett of PWC, have been appointed as Deputy Chairmen and will deputise for Mr Charchafchi in his absence.

Meanwhile, Mr Hani Akkawi of CCC, who serves as Chairman of the IBBC’s Construction and Infrastructure Sector Table, will join the Executive Committee.

It was also announced that Dr Alastair Niven LVO OBE will step down as Chairman of IBBC’s Education, Training & Heritage Sector Table on Tuesday 15 November 2016. He will be replaced by Professor Christina Slade, Vice Chancellor of Bath Spa University.

Mr Christophe Michels, formerly IBBC’s Chief Operating Officer, has been promoted to Managing Director.

(Source: IBBC)

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

IEITI New Annual Report 2013: Again, Modest Progress but More Improvement Still Needed

The Iraq Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (IEITI) succeeded in launching its fifth annual Report 2013 on 10th December 2015, almost three weeks earlier than its previous report. Moreover, IEITI plans to issue Report 2014 by the end of March 2016. Obviously, this is a commendable progress.

On previous occasions I reviewed and assessed IEITI Reports starting from the first one for 2009. These assessments are available on this IBN website and can be accessed through the following link:

http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/category/oil-gas/ahmed-mousa-jiyad/

Despite the progress acknowledged above, my thorough review of the latest IEITI Report indicates very minor qualitative improvements in this current Report and in some items there are few serious setbacks from previous report. Major parts are repetitive due to copy and paste method from previous reports.

The mind-set of the Reconciler/Administrator of the Report (PwC) and its used methodology led to reduce its contribution and make it confined to reconciliation of oil export revenues only, leaving other Iraqi entities to contributing some of the remaining parts of the Report without critical examination of their contents by the Reconciler/Administrator.

In this respect I have identified serious discrepancies that were not addressed in the Report; many important missing items that the Report should have covered; flaws that are impacting the quality of the Report; lack of progress and apparent low learning curve, among others.

This IEITI Report in its current form still, unfortunately, far from what is required under EITI new Standard and to a large extent did not comply fully with the ToR of the consultancy assignment.

In this annual assessment of IEITI Report, I will provide a background note followed by critical review and evaluation of the issues covered by the Report and end with concluding remarks.

Please click here to download Ahmed Mousa Jiyad’s full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya@online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad).