IBBC Autumn conference in Dubai attracts deep engagement and discussion of the Protests

Over 100 attendees of largely Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members engaged in deep discussions and conversational at the Autumn Conference in Dubai this weekend.

As a backdrop to the protest and conflict in Iraq, speakers and delegates articulated the causes, solutions and reforms required to improve the situation in Iraq.

Distinguished speakers included H.E Mr Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, under-secretary Foreign Trade and Industry UAE Ministry of Economy, Dr Dara Rashid, senior deputy minister of housing construction and municipalities GOI, Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, deputy Minister of Transport and Mr Simon Penney- HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, along with Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Key panels included Middle East, economic trends and prospects – with particular reference to Iraq – lead by Professor Frank Gunter, Prof Economics Lehigh University –his presentation, outlining the underlying economic issues in Iraq can be found here IBBC Dubai 1Dec19 (2)

Joining him were Dr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, Simon Penney and Dr Dara Rashid – while the outlook for Iraq currently looks bleak, there was a marked degree of optimism on the panel, as the protests and prospective new government are seen as a potential spur to reform and change for the better.

Mr Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC observed:

“Following meetings with leaders of the protest movement in Baghdad last month, and despite the fact that the protests themselves led to a severe disruption of the work of most businesses, the protest movement is led by a multitude of civil society organisations who consist mostly of very young women and men, inspired by hope for the future of the country.  It transcends religious, sectarian, class and gender barriers and appears to be crystallising into a new form of Iraqi nationalism.”

Other panels covered Power, John Scott of IBBC chaired GE, Crescent Petroleum and Uruk engineering.

Infrastructure and Water – with a stunning presentations by Mr Hussam Chakouf of Zaha Haddid Architects, Dr Rashid and Mr Sean Gamble MD of RSK, who are undertaking significant environmental clean- up and land reclamation projects across Iraq and particularly in the oil fields around Basra.

Transport and Logistics, chaired by Ms Beverly Simpson Director of Department for International Trade at the British Embassy Baghdad, with Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Jason Sutcliffe of Rolls Royce and Mr Phil Marsham CEO of Basra Gateway.

Alongside the conference a special newly active Women’s group, led by Samer Athamer of AMS Iraq and Agne Abramauskaite of IBBC which discussed the empowerment of women and development of careers, and a dedicated afternoon to the Tech Forum – an increasingly dynamic new member group, dedicated to promoting Tech in Iraq – Sponsored by Innovest, investors in Iraqi Start-ups, and led by CEO Mr Bassam Falah. The forum was  chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC and ably supported by Mr Mohammed Khudairi of Iraqtechventures, with Mr Chris Ferguson Director and lead of UK Government Digital services, and Mr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, this panel discussed how to encourage the GOI to develop more and faster Tech initiatives and infrastructural support for Start ups and the Tech Ecology in Iraq, and to form a group within IBBC to develop these initiatives further – Second panel ( Educational Tech ) included Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education, whose team showcased their distance learning platform that is being trialled in their Iraqi schools, and is expected to be available to all schools in Iraq and beyond, ably supported by Mr Chris Ferguson with HMG UK examples of Educational tech, and Mr Hamilton of DFID.

IBBC is most grateful to the following sponsors, without whom we would not be able to hold these important events: Rolls Royce, Khudairi group and Severn Glocon group as Conference sponsors, and Basra Gateway terminal as reception sponsors, and Innovest as key Tech Forum and conference sponsors.

For more information please contact: london@webuildiraq.org or Telephone: 0207 222 7100

(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)

From Peace to prosperity:

The Conference to find out what’s happening for Iraq business.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) Autumn Conference in Dubai on December 8th is set against a backdrop of relative peace and security in Iraq, and the prospect of oil revenues surging through the economy is driving a wider range of business opportunities and a prospective 8% increase in GDP.

Peace is enabling the economy to diversify through the revenues that pay for a range of infrastructure projects. So this Autumn we are focusing on a range of sectors set to benefit from a stable Iraq: namely, Water, Transport and Logistics, Energy and Tech.

The recent protests have also spurred on Government reforms and incentives to drive employment, entrepreneurship and service diversity, and increase the volume of opportunity that lies ahead and the prospects for not just business-to-business but also a burgeoning consumer market.

The Iraqi Electricity Minister will likely be speaking about his reforms to open up the market to SME’s, training and new players. Other ministers including those from Construction and Transport are attending.

The recent announcement of a 10year tax-free period for SMEs in Iraq will also stimulate the Tech entrepreneur market and drive the uptake of engineering skills.

At this conference, we will discuss big-picture economics with Professor Frank Gunter (Lehigh University), Ahmed Tabaqchali (AFC Iraq Fund), and Simon Penny (UK Trade & Investment), who will address the economic backdrop in the Middle East, and the context for Iraq in particular.

The World Bank and Wood Plc will cover the water sector, while Rolls Royce, Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT), and Menzies will look at transport and logistics, and Iraq’s Electricity Minister, GE, Siemens and Enka will focus on energy.

Alongside the conference our Tech Forum brings experts on HealthTech and Educational Tech, including speakers from GE, Siemens Healthcare, KPMG, EY, Google and the British Council, among others.

While key opportunities will be outlined, the real opportunity for business is to meet the people directly involved in contracts and supply-chain opportunities. This is the place to do business, to network and to find out what’s happening in the Middle East’s most potentially dynamic market that is Iraq.

For further information and to find the latest updates on speakers – more are expected – please contact  london@webuildiraq.org or visit the website to register for tickets.

https://iraqbritainbusiness.org/event/autumn-conference-at-the-address-hotel-dubai

The year it’s all on the up…

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held a reception at UK onservative party conference to celebrate 10 years working in Iraq.

Led by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne , President of IBBC and Trade Envoy to Iraq, a number of members including BP and Tratos were welcomed to the well attended event.

Dino Bossi director at G4S risk spoke movingly of the sacrifice he and his soldiers made in Iraq 2004 to ensure stability and his delight at seeing Iraq recover and rebuild to the present day.

Alan Woods from Rolls Royce also spoke about the Royce room we held the reception in as the room Rolls Royce was conceived in 1904.

Baroness Nicholson spoke of the British company members who represent the highest of international standards in business, product, training and employment that are deployed in Iraq.

She also welcomed Andrew Rosindell MP chair of the Appg for Iraq who spoke of the amazing development of IBBC in the last 10 years. He was joined by the ambassador for Taiwan.

Liam Fox MP and former DIT Secretary of State also joined the event along with business associates and Iraqi members of the Conservative party.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was delighted to host H.E. Dr Abdullah Luaibi the Iraqi Minister of Transport in London today.

The Minister, accompanied by a delegation of officials, was on a 4 day official visit to the United Kingdom organised by the Department of International Trade.

His visit included meetings with IBBC Members Rolls-Royce and Serco, and a number of bilateral meetings with the British Government. UK companies play a leading role in aviation in Iraq and the Ministers visit cemented the existing ties while exploring new ventures.

By courtesy of Brigadier James Ellery and thanks to the generous sponsorship of Vitol, IBBC was fortunate to offer the Minister and his delegation Lunch together with about 20 IBBC Members and guests at the Cavalry and Guards Club on Piccadilly.

Members in attendance included representatives of Serco, Zaha Hadid Architects, Menzies Aviation, G4S, Al Burhan Group, Basra Gateway Terminal, HWH & Associate, Eversheds Sutherland, Stirling Education and Constellis.

Delegates at the Lunch were addressed by Baroness Nicholson, IBBC President and the Prime Ministers Trade Envoy for Iraq, and of course the Minister who expressed his great satisfaction about his visit and working so closely with the UK Government, UK businesses and the IBBC.

He also made it clear that establishing regular direct return flights between London and Baghdad was one of his top priorities and that he was looking at upgrading some of the major Iraqi transport infrastructure during his tenure.

IBBC’s Managing Director Christophe Michels commented:

Minister Luaibi has been a staunch supporter of IBBC members in Iraq over some years now, first as Deputy Minister and now as Minister. His office door in Baghdad is always open to us and I am pleased to say that UK companies lead the way in airport security, ground handling and air traffic control.

“Now we are looking forward for Rolls-Royce to work with Iraqi Airways and for one of the great UK architects and design companies to work on an new airport project in country.

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

(Source: IBBC)

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)

Iraq Britain Business Council holds successful Autumn Conference in Dubai

Following on from the first Iraq Britain Business Council conference in Dubai in 2016, the IBBC was delighted to host its Autumn Conference in the UAE once again. The event was strongly supported by the UAE authorities.

Alongside Baroness Nicholson, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq and President of the IBBC, the conference was opened by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, Under Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy.

H.E. Mr. Abdulla reminded delegates that non-Oil & Gas related trade between the UAE and Iraq had already passed 11 Billion USD in 2016, with Dubai in particular being a hub for local and international companies in the region.

H.E. Mr. Abdulla firmly believes that the UAE’s role in the rebuilding of Iraq will continue to expand and expressed his wish to cooperate with organisations such as the IBBC to accomplish this crucial task.

Vikas Handa, IBBC UAE Representative and the Managing Partner of the Emirati Company DrillTech, warmly thanked the minister and stated that the IBBC stands ready to work even more closely with the UAE in Iraq.

The Government of Iraq sent a high calibre ministerial delegation led by H.E. Mr Qasim Al-Fahdawi, The Minister of Electricity, to the conference. The delegation included H.E. Mrs Ann Naufi Aussi Balbool, Minister of Construction Housing and Public Municipalities; H.E. Kadhim Fijan Al Hamami, Minister of Transport; H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC); and H.E. Mr Fayadh Hassan Nima, Deputy Minister of Oil for refining affairs.

The conference was structured around several sessions in which the Iraqi officials and international companies operating successfully in Iraq, most of which are members of the IBBC, exchanged their views and experiences.

These sessions focused on strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the economy in Iraq, Reconstruction & Infrastructure, Transport, Power and Oil & Gas. In parallel, a series of high level round-table discussions between investors and Iraqi Government representatives took place.

The conference included for the first time a presentation on the rapidly developing Tech sector in Iraq , given by the CEO of Zain.

IBBC thanks the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) and the IMF for its participation. Thanks also go to the IBBC members who sponsored the conference: Gold Sponsor International Islamic Bank; Silver Sponsors Serco and Gulftainer; Lunch Sponsor Rolls-Royce; pre-reception Sponsor Wood; and Coffee Break Sponsors Eversheds Sutherland and KCA Deutag.

IBBC Managing Director, Christophe Michels, stated that the increasing involvement of the UAE and wider GCC with Iraq was a game changer for the country. The IBBC very much welcomes this development and is delighted to be part of it and support it. The organisation will increase its presence in the UAE and the Autumn Conference in Dubai will become a regular feature in its calendar of events.

(Source: IBBC)

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) and UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Iraq, led a delegation of 25 IBBC member company representatives on a Trade Mission to Baghdad organised by IBBC Managing Director, Mr Christophe Michels and IBBC Co-Chairman and Iraq Representative, Mr Rasmi Al-Jabri.

Delegates included representatives from Penspen Ltd, Kuwait Energy, Serco, Wood, Ratba’a Contracting Co., Management Partners, Gulftainer, HWH & Associates, Al-Burhan Group, CCC, Dar Group, Restrata, Rolls Royce and new member XReach Ltd.

The delegation met with a number of ministers and high ranking officials to discuss future policies and opportunities for growth as well as focusing on business opportunities for IBBC member companies.

They also discussed the upcoming IBBC Autumn Conference in Dubai to be held on 12 November which will be attended by a powerful Iraqi Government delegation led by the Minister of Electricity. To register, please follow the link: http://www.webuildiraq.org/ibbc-conference/autumn-conference/

During the visit, delegates had meetings with:

  • Mr Qasim Al-Fahdawi, Minister of Electricity
  • Mr Abdul Kariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the PM’s Advisory Committee
  • Dr Mahdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers
  • Dr Ann Nafi Aussi Balbool, Minister of Housing, Construction and Public Municipalities
  • ‎Mr Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister of Housing, Construction and Public Municipalities
  • Mr Istabrak al Shouk, Deputy Minister of Housing, Construction and Public Municipalities
  • Mr Imran Abass, Deputy Minister of Transport
  • H.E. Mr Fayyad Naama Deputy Minister for refining operations, Ministry of Oil

The above meetings were joined by a number of Director Generals heading up the different departments in the various ministries.

On Sunday 29 October, IBBC Member Al Burhan Group, generously invited delegates for dinner at the Al Burhan Centre near the Baghdad International Airport.

The delegation was also invited for a Dinner at the British Embassy in Baghdad on Monday 30 October, where members delegates met with Representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Trade, the World Bank, the EU and the Prime Ministers Advisory Council.

 

(Source: IBBC)

By Ashley Goodall.

Is the UK overlooking a key USP for British International businesses?

Education and training footprint of British companies around the world has a significant and excellent impact on communities and economies and is often taken for granted.

As the UK ramps up its trade rhetoric and a ‘Global Britain’ emerges, one of the key benefits that British companies bring is being overlooked: Education and training…

The penny dropped for me as I attended a meeting of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members to find that one after the other, each company was committed to the concept of a learning organisation that are locally integrated. Not only are British companies employing as many local people as possible, but also training them to deliver increasingly complex managerial and technical roles.

Oil and gas companies, Shell and BP in particular, deliver an extraordinary amount of training in Iraq alone. The effect on the local communities and national economies is a massive injection of know-how and a source of social stability, development, prosperity and economic progress, let alone the transformative power training confers on individuals, families and communities.

Not only are our companies a source of prosperity, but when partnered with UK Universities offer a double whammy for the delivery of global standards and expertise that  few countries can match in country and via external courses, such as delivered by Oxford Brooks and Northampton Universities.

Emerging economies appreciate this expertise, as it raises business operations to global standards and enables them to compete with the best, to encourage inward investment and generate employment opportunities in their regions.

Oil and Power companies in particular make a big social impact on their suppliers. Osama Kadhum Managing Director of Ratba’ contracting in Iraq says his staff received 3885 hours of training in Majnoon Oilfield from Shell alone, ensuring the highest technical and supervisory standards are applied.

GE power likewise employ over 90% of local staff, often sent for technical training in USA or x for 6-12 month stretches supporting local recruitment , diversity of employees, and women for increasingly leadership and supervisory roles. Shell in Iraq train over 7,900 local staff in Basra for whom they are delivering over 200,000 training days per year. BP and its Partners are developing the Rumaila field which is supported by a 93% Iraqi workforce.

Around 2,400,000 training hours have been delivered to staff in a variety of technical disciplines, core skills, leadership and safety.  And these figures do not include community initiatives such as an extensive community vocational training programme that has been running for 3 years, or 400 women from a remote community that have been trained in the Rumaila funded Qarmat Ali Women’s Training Centre.

In Baghdad Serco have set up an ATC Academy for Air traffic Controllers. Multiply this scale of training globally in just Iraq and you begin to see the scale and quality of training that British companies deliver among International, Emerging and Frontier markets.

More widely Rolls- Royce has committed an ambitious plan to reach 6 million people worldwide through their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) education programmes between 2014- 2020. This bold target will encourage a more creative and engaging outreach through the company’s supply chain, through the wider STEM sector and to inspire society to attract talented young people from around the world to the world of STEM.

Businesses are often castigated by the media, but the reality is that they are usually a force for good, prosperity and ultimately stronger communities. So let’s celebrate the important impact British companies’ commitment to education and training brings to millions of people and their ability to change the world.

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

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that several new companies have joined the Iraq Britain Business Council in 2017, each of which are underpinned by strong reputations for innovation, reliability and a commitment to investing in Iraq.

Al Ratba’a Contracting Company, Al-Burhan Group, Iraq Star Group, Serco, Shamara Holding, Cresent and Rolls Royce join 52 other world- and region-leading companies that form IBBC’s Council of Members.

Al Ratba’a Contracting Company is based in Basra, Iraq, and provides high quality services with improved construction systems and processes, and innovation in accordance with the regulations and international standards to satisfy its customers. Al Ratba’a has 16 years of experience doing business in Iraq, with its headquarters based in Basrah and offices in Baghdad, employing over 800 international and Iraqi staff. Its network of clients and partners includes many international and national firms working across the country in numerous industrial sectors. Al Ratba’a has 12 years of experience working in the Oil & Gas sector, with base camps located in all major Oil fields in Southern Iraq. Its services span a wide range of associated activities across the Oil & Gas industry. For more information visit: http://intraq8.com/al-ratbaa-company/

Al-Burhan Group is a conglomerate based in Iraq and is actively involved in key projects across the country focusing on consultation, construction, equipment and machinery supply, milling, security assistance, hospitality services and transportation. Al Burhan Group is considered an “A” grade company making them one of the top companies in Iraq that is licensed and that has the ability to conduct large scale projects. Al Burhan Group has received numerous awards over the years, two of which being for Reliability and Quality of Service. For more information visit: www.alburhangroup.com

Cresent is Control of Work and Health and Safety specialists, with over 30 years’ experience working in hazardous industries around the world. Cresent’s scope extends across a wide range of facilities on and offshore. Since 2012 Cresent has been working with clients in Iraq, and has been helping make Iraq’s oil fields safer by producing numerous safety training packages in Arabic and English, delivering training to more than 80,000 people in Iraq, coaching 100 Iraqi Safety Trainers and providing work clothing, posters, booklets, campaigns and other information for people at the Rumaila and the West Qurna Oil Fields. For more information visit: www.cresent.co.uk

Iraq Star Group is a leading provider of armed security solutions for international clients across Iraq. The company is 100% Iraqi owned and based in the southern city of Basra. Iraq Star Group has decades of experience in the provision of complex security solutions and is an approved provider to the largest International Oil and Gas companies operating in Iraq. For more information visit: www.iraq-star137.com