The UAE has sent an aid plane carrying 10.5 metric tons of medical supplies to Iraq to bolster the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This aid will assist approximately 10,500 medical professionals as they work to contain the virus.

Commenting on the aid delivery, Mohamad Saleh Altenaiji, Charge d’affaires of the UAE Embassy in Baghdad, said:

The UAE has contributed to supporting our Iraqi brothers for years and continues to provide all possible support in all areas, particularly the economic and developmental realms. The UAE is also keen to protect and preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage in the face of terrorist threats that have tried to destroy and maim it.

“In continuation of these efforts, the UAE’s wise leadership sent a medical aid plane today to support the efforts of health workers to deal with COVID-19, which comes in addition to the recent medical assistance sent to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”

To date, the UAE has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by providing over 974 metric tons of aid to 68 countries, supporting more than 974,000 medical professionals in the process.

(Source: Govt of UAE)

The Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister thanked health teams for their sacrifices on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest developments and the ongoing national effort to combat the pandemic.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Implement a previous decision by the government to award, free of charge, plots of land for health staff who have direct contact with Covid-19 patients
  • Direct the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to allocate additional places on postgraduate courses, outside its current plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, for health staff wishing to pursue further studies

The Cabinet discussed other items on its agenda, and decided to authorise the Minister of Finance to negotiate and sign loan agreements to ensure funding for several investment projects in the electricity and health sectors, as follows:

  • A loan to complete a project for the Ministry of Electricity to install (8) turbine refrigeration units and (32) other refrigeration units at a cost of 70,800,000 euros from Siemens
  • A loan for the installation and operation of (9) gas turbines for the Wasit power station for the amount of 36,000,000 euros  from Siemens for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by Standard Chartered Bank and with a guarantee from the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of health services infrastructure in the amount of 185,000,000 euros for the Ministry of Health funded by the German Development Bank (KFW)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of electricity infrastructure in the amount of 400,000,000 euros, for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by the German Development Bank, KFW
  • A loan for the multi-annual maintenance project – the fourth stage in the amount of US$120,000,000 implemented by GE with funding from an international bank and  guaranteed by UK Export Finance (UKEF)
  • A loan for Babylon’s 400 KV Power Plant Rehabilitation Project, in the amount of 38,000,000 euros, implemented by Sweden’s ABB company, funded by JPMorgan Bank and guaranteed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency,  EKN

The Cabinet also approved a draft law to ratify the agreement on air transport services between the Republic of Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, and to submit it to the Council of Representatives.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

UNESCO and ICCROM (The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) sign an agreement on capacity building for the reconstruction of Mosul’s cultural heritage.

ICCROM, through its Regional Conservation Office in Sharjah (UAE), will provide a two-year capacity building programme for professionals and craftspeople to contribute to the reconstruction of Mosul’s Old City.

This programme is possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the European Union and is part of the UNESCO initiative to Revive the Spirit of Mosul.

This ICCROM-UNESCO partnership aims at strengthening the expertise of local young professionals and craftspeople in order to equip them with the required skills for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Old City and, as a result, ensure long-term livelihood opportunities.

The programme targets both young professionals from various disciplines such as architecture, engineering or urban planning, and craftspeople such as masons, carpenters, or stone carvers. Young professionals will be trained on heritage management and conservation, providing them with technical competencies needed to participate in the physical reconstruction of the city.

The programme will also prepare a number of skilled building craftspeople to contribute towards the long-term reconstruction needs of the Old City, taking into consideration the protection, revival and evolution of Mosul’s heritage values.

The capacity building programme will be implemented though a practical on-the-job training modality where trainees will actively participate in the reconstruction of the city’s historic landmarks and houses, and will receive a stipend.

The institutional capacity building scheme falls into the framework of the Revive the spirit of Mosul initiative, UNESCO’s response for the recovery of one of Iraq’s iconic cities. The initiative aims at contributing to community reconciliation and peace building through the recovery of the living environment and rehabilitation of the city’s heritage sites.

The initiative places special emphasis in empowering the population as agents of change involved in the process of rebuilding their city through culture and education. This partnership between UNESCO and ICCROM will reinforce local expertise that can participate in the reconstruction, ensuring both ownership and long-term livelihood opportunities for the people of Iraq.

This ICCROM-UNESCO partnership will specifically support the UAE funded project Reviving the Spirit of Mosul by rebuilding its historic landmarks namely the Al-Nouri Mosque and its Al-Hadba Minaret, as well as the Al-Tahera Church and Al-Saa’a Church and European Union funded project Reviving Mosul and Basra Old Cities.

(Source: UN)

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)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is delighted to be holding a Tech forum within the main Conference at Address Hotel in Dubai on December 8th.

Principal among the speakers are Mr Yassin Bhija of GE Healthcare and Mr Uwe Bork of Siemens Healthcare who are driving the healthtech panel – exploring the hot topic of ‘How best to Develop primary and general healthcare in Iraq.’

Iraq has structural and tactical issues in providing universal healthcare at all levels of delivery and in all locations and classes. The two leading healthcare companies will discuss how tech solutions in general can address the issue and how their particular capabilities contribute to the general provision of healthcare.

Following on the Education Tech panel, will be discussing ‘The importance of Digital literacy in Iraq’, led by Google’s Mr Martin Roeke, Dr Victoria Lindsay of the British Council and Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education.

The Forum is sponsored by Innovest Middle East, an investment company that invests in startups during their scaling up stage in key markets in the Middle East region. With representations in Lebanon, Dubai, KSA, and Iraq, Innovest Middle East has played a key role in driving the startup ecosystem through direct investments as well as through supporting incubation and acceleration platforms collaboration with governmental and international bodies. In Iraq, Innovest Middle East launched IRAQPRENEURS in 2018, in collaboration with the World Bank, Central Bank of Iraq and leading private organizations, which grew to become one of the leading nationwide entrepreneurship empowerment platform in Iraq.

Mr Bassam Falah, CEO of Innovest will be addressing the delegates on the progress in support of the Iraqi start up ecology.

More speakers are expected to confirm.

For more information and to register, please contact london@webuildiraq.org.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

Al Qubba Water Treatment Plant has been inaugurated in east Mosul, in cooperation with the local government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to the state-owned Emirates News Agency, the inauguration was attended by Mansour Marid, Governor of Mosul, and UNDP Officer of Northern Iraq Governorates Projects, who thanked the UAE for supporting the project.

The station is one of the largest in Nineveh Governorate, east Mosul, and will cover the needs of 75 percent of the region’s people, benefitting 750,000 individuals.

The station is one of 23 projects implemented by the UNDP in Iraq costing AED220 million (US$60 million), which are funded by the UAE.

These projects, which are estimated to benefit 1.2 million people, aim to restore local infrastructure and social facilities in the areas of health, electricity, water and housing, as well as provide job opportunities, build national capacities, empower women, develop local markets, and encourage refugees to return to their homes.

The UAE has provided humanitarian and development aid to Iraq worth AED2.63 billion ($716 million) between 2014 and October 2019.

(Source: Emirates News Agency)

Dana Gas PJSC, the Middle East’s largest regional private sector natural gas company, announced that in the first nine months of 2019 collections in Egypt, the UAE and from its share of Pearl Petroleum Company Limited‘s sales in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), increased 16.7% year on year to $230 million (AED 844m).

Dana Gas, which owns a 35% stake in Pearl Petroleum, saw its share of sales of condensate, LPG and gas in the KRI jump 52% to $118 million in the nine-month period from $77 million in the same period the previous year.  Dana Gas received cash dividends of $68.3 million from Pearl Petroleum over this period.

Meanwhile, the collections from Dana Gas Egypt were $105 million during the period, in line with the $111 million received in the same period of 2018 whilst collections from the Company’s Zora gas field in the UAE stood at $7.3 million.

Dr Patrick Allman-Ward (pictured), CEO of Dana Gas, said:

“We are pleased to record higher collections over the first nine-months of the year in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, due primarily to an increase in production and regular payments from the government. Our overall collections are higher at $230 million, and our strong in-country relationships have continued to benefit our overall business performance. We are committed to operating all our assets to maximise production and value for all our stakeholders.”

Pearl Petroleum is boosting production in the KRI, where 25% of the region’s power needs remain unmet and the demand for power is expected to outstrip supply in the medium and long-term. The consortium operates world-class gas fields in the KRI and currently enables the power generation of three quarters of the area’s official electricity production.

It signed a 20-year gas sale agreement with the KRG earlier this year that will facilitate the production and sale of an additional 250 MMscf/d of gas. Pearl Petroleum’s expansion plan will see output increase to 650 MMscf/d in 2022, and then to 900 MMscf/d by 2023 from the current 400 MMscf/d.

Dana Gas’s share of the proved plus probable (2P) hydrocarbon reserves at Pearl Petroleum Khor Mor and Chemchemal Fields in the KRI increased by 10% following the recent certification of reserves by its independent external reserves auditor, Gaffney Cline Associates. Dana Gas’s total share is equivalent to 1,087 million barrels of oil equivalent, up from 990 million barrels of oil equivalent when Gaffney Cline first certified the fields in April 2016.

By 2040, natural gas demand in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to grow 40% and oil demand will increase by 10 million barrels a day, according to industry estimates. To help meet that increase in energy demand, projects valued at $238 billion are being executed in the next 20 years.

(Source: Dana Gas)

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…

On 20th October, a handover ceremony was held at Albwardy Damen, in Sharjah, UAE, marking Damen’s delivery of thirteen tugs to Jawar Al Khaleej Shipping.

The tugs will be operated at various offshore terminals in Iraq, in a joint cooperation between Jawar Al Khaleej Shipping and General Company for Ports of Iraq (GCPI). The contract for the order was signed end of March 2019. Damen has delivered all the vessels within a seven month period.

The thirteen-vessel order consisted of four ASD Tugs 2813, two ASD Tugs 3212, three RSD Tugs 2513 – all state-of-the-art vessels from Damen’s Next Generation Tugs series – three Stan Tugs 2208 and a Shoalbuster 2609. The ASD tugs are fully equipped, including FiFi 1 and an escort towing notation.  Furthermore, the contract includes spare part packages, training, a computerised planned maintenance system and a remote monitoring system on board of all tugs.

The vessel order will serve to fulfil a 20 year contract between Jawar Al Khaleej Shipping and GCPI. The contract gives Jawar Al Khaleej Shipping responsibility for marine service at the oil terminals.

With this agreement, the two parties will secure Iraq’s ability to handle the constant flow of tankers entering and leaving the country.

Jawar Al Khaleej has been successfully providing marine services in Iraq for the last ten years, and has a modern fleet of a Damen Stan Tugs, three Damen ASD Tugs 3213 and a Fast Crew Supplier 5009.

Jawar Al Khaleej chairman Eng. Baydaq Al Jazaeri, speaking during his speech at the handover ceremony, said:

This Mission was not an easy one, it was a great challenge. However, we had a big confidence in our partner in business, Damen, who met and exceeded our expectations in making it happen despite all challenges.

“I would like to thank all the Damen team and a special thanks to Mr Bram Langeveld area director Middle East and Mr Pascal Slingerland Damen sales director Middle East for their continuous support and follow-up. Jawar is grateful to GCPI for their confidence in us for such a big contract, which is related to the economy of a big country such as Iraq.

Pascal Slingerland, Damen sales director Middle East, added:

It has been an honour to extend our long lasting relationship with Jawar Al Khaleej Shipping and to support Jawar in this prestigious contract with GCPI. On behalf of Damen I congratulate both parties on their cooperation and on the delivery of their new tugs.

“This delivery includes some of the most state-of-the-art tug technology on the market, including cutting edge innovations in safety, design and remote monitoring. We have every confidence that these thoroughly fit for purpose tugs will meet the offshore terminal requirements and enables save and reliable operation.

(Source: Damen)

The United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) renewed their collaboration to the flagship UNESCO initiative Revive the Spirit of Mosul earlier this morning, extending the historic partnership on restoration and reconstruction efforts in Mosul, Iraq. Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; and Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO met earlier today at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris, signaling a continued focus on rebuilding iconic landmarks that lie at the core of human civilisations.

This agreement arises in line with the UAE championing 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, emphasising tolerance as a universal concept and a sustainable institutional endeavour through legislation and policies aimed at entrenching the values of tolerance, dialogue, coexistence and openness to different cultures.

Concluding in the presence of His Excellency, Abdulrahman Hamid al-Husseini, Iraq’s Ambassador to France; HE Dr. Mohamed Ali Al Hakim, Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); Brother Nicolas Tixier, Prior Provincial of the Province of France of the Dominican Order; and Brother Olivier Poquillon, General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU, the new agreement today reiterates the restoration efforts for the rebuilding of two destroyed cultural sites; the Al-Tahera Church and the Al-Saa’a Church.

The project is an extension of the historic agreement signed earlier in April 2018 whereby the Emirates committed $50.4 million to contribute to the rebuilding of the cultural heritage of Mosul. The project initially concerned the restoration and reconstruction of the historic landmarks of Mosul, notably the emblematic Al-Nouri Mosque and its celebrated, leaning 45-metre Al-Hadba Minaret, built more than 840 years ago.

With the renewed partnership, the UAE will support the reconstruction of the 800-year old Al-Tahera Church, located in the Midan area in Mosul’s Old City and considered one of the oldest churches in the area, dating back to the first millennium; and the Al-Saa Church, also known as Our Lady of the Hour Church, which became a living example of the brotherhood between the people of Mosul who have graduated from its educational institution, regardless of their religious background.

These efforts will also contribute to the construction of a museum and memorial site which will exhibit and preserve remnants and history of the restored mosque and churches, with engaging community and educational spaces. The museum and memorial will have a long-lasting impact on Mosul’s young community with the creation of training and job opportunities for over 1,000 young Moslawis, the development of sustainable skills for those employed by the project and through educational and training opportunities, and the significant contribution of the project to the local economy through cultural tourism for Mosul and Iraq.

To date, the project has employed 27 Iraqis and contracted 4 Iraqi companies, with efforts to further bolster this growth as the project progresses. The UAE has also engaged with over 50 local Iraqis to receive direct feedback about their perspective on the restoration of the cultural sites that reflect their country’s legacy.

Speaking on the momentous occasion, HE Noura Al Kaabi remarked:

We are very honoured to sign this partnership with UNESCO and the people of Iraq to take our efforts further in helping rebuild Mosul and reviving the spirit of co-existence and social cohesion. Our work with UNESCO around the world is testament to our country’s commitment to furthering the organisation’s mandate through international cooperation within the fields of education, culture and science.

“Today’s signing is a pioneering partnership that sends a message of light, in seemingly darker times. By rebuilding a fraction of the past, Iraq can shape its future as an inclusive, tolerant and open society which has always found a tangible manifestation in Mosul’s rich historical sites.

“As we start working with UNESCO to reconstruct the ancient Al-Tahera Church, considered to be one of the most ancient churches in Mosul dating back to the 7th Century; as we break ground rebuilding ‘Our Lady of the Hour’, a catholic church built by Dominican Fathers; the UAE becomes the first country in the world to reconstruct Christian churches in Iraq.”

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s General Director joined HE Al Kaabi in the announcement of the renewed partnership:

Today was an important step for the recovery of the Old City of Mosul. With the inclusion of the two churches Al Tahera and Al-Saa in our project we are all strongly mobilized. This rehabilitation aims to reclaim the true spirit of the City, a story of peaceful coexistence between different religious and ethnic groups.

“I am thankful to the United Arab Emirates and Minister Al Kaabi who have generously supported our Initiative since the beginning, and who believe, as we do, that there is no true reconstruction and revival without Culture and Education.

The Al-Tahera Church of Syriac Catholics in Mosul is considered as one of the largest and oldest churches in the Old City of Mosul. Located in the heart of the first inhabited hilltop of Mosul, known as Qile’aat, near the river, Al-Tahera was surrounded by other churches and mosques.

Before its destruction, the church used to include a school, a library, and a healthcare centre, and it was symbolic of the peaceful coexistence between Christian and Muslim communities in the Old City of Mosul.

The Al-Saa’a Church, which means “Church of the Clock” in Arabic, lies at the heart of the Old City of Mosul. Belonging to the Dominican Fathers, who built it between 1866 and 1873, historians say that Empress Eugenie (María Eugenia de Montijo), wife of Napoleon III, the last emperor of France, donated the funding for the bell tower, which is one of the iconic landmarks of the historic town of Mosul today. Al-Saa’a Church used to have a school and many Moslawis graduated from this educational institution, regardless of their faith, Christian or Muslim.

(Source: UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development)