IBBC hosts largest ever delegation of Iraqi business people at London Business Forum

In a wide-ranging business event over 230 Iraqi business-people and 70 British gathered to meet and discuss Business relations, trade, investment and engagement with the UK’s Business community.

Delegates from all regions of Iraq through the chambers of commerce gathered to hear from representatives of trade associations, IBBC members, chambers of commerce and investors.

Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC, welcomed the new Iraqi Ambassador, H.E. Mr Mohammad Jaafar Al- Sadr, who gave a keynote address at the conference. The Ambassador speech was followed by an address of H.E Mr Karwan Jamal, High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Of note were the panel from Iraqi business people, headed by Dr Dara Jalel Al-Khayat, Chairman of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kurdistan, and representatives from Babil, Baghdad and Basra Chambers, as well as the chair of the Importers and exporters association in Kurdistan.

From the British side, a panel consisting of Rod Dowler of the Industry Forum, Alan Rides MD of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Brigadier James Ellery of Turnkey LLC and Mr Peter Hunt of HWH Associates and Raed Hanna, MD of MFL Finance, all spoke positively of their experiences in Iraq, but tempered with advice on improvements to the Iraqi experience. Finally, Jessica Hao of Crossboundary associates spoke of opportunities to invest in start-ups and SMEs in Iraq with support of USAID.

Key messages included the enthusiasm with which the Iraqis are keen for British Investment into numerous sectors in Iraq, especially Agriculture, Petro Chemicals, Food Processing, Housing and Consumer goods.

The idea of joint ventures with British know how and expertise and Iraqi partners are also suggested as ways to overcome perceptions of risk in the country. However, many delegates all supported the notion that despite the present legitimate protests in many parts of the country overall peace and stability has returned to Iraq following the defeat of DAESH and that the business environment is getting more favourable. Nevertheless, much needs to be done to free up and boost the private sector, an essential step to meet the demands for real jobs and futures of the ever-increasing young Iraqi population.

Following the formal event, the delegates networked extensively with each other and the British contacts in the room.

The group move onto Northampton University, Ardley high tech waste centre, and High-tech leather innovation centre in Northampton University before returning to Iraq.

For more information on the contacts for exports and import opportunities, please contact London@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

Top Mountain in partnership with USAID is launching a business incubator and employment program. The goal of the program is to promote economic growth and increase employment opportunities to support minorities from Ninewa targeted by ISIS.

Program activities will focus on achieving three core objectives designed to support this goal. Firstly, outreach campaigns will be used to increase interest in entrepreneurship and careers in the private sector.

Secondly, the project will build capacity in both technical and soft skills that will help beneficiaries start businesses and become more competitive in the job market. Lastly, the project will help to build professional networks that increase business and employment opportunities for persecuted minorities from Ninewa.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID has funded this program under the New Partnership Initiative (NPI) that aims to assist populations in Iraq recovering from the genocide perpetrated by ISIS.

Top Mountain is a consulting firm based in Iraq focused on stabilization, economic development, and promoting employment and entrepreneurship. This program is aligned with Top Mountain’s mission to support economic development and stability in Iraq.

For more information please contact info@topmountain.co

(Source: Top Mountain)

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced the first tranche of recipients under USAID’s New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) on Thursday during his remarks at the Accord Network’s Annual Forum.

The organizations will carry out programs that improve global health outcomes in USAID’s partner countries, and assist populations in the Republic of Iraq that are recovering from the genocide perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Administrator Green launched the NPI in May 2019 to expand and diversify USAID’s partner base and change the way the Agency does business. By working with new or underutilized partners, the Agency hopes to bring more innovative approaches to U.S. foreign assistance; focus on strengthening capacity and commitment in partner countries by tapping into existing networks of community- and faith-based organizations; and reach new populations.

Administrator Green also announced a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province. Long-time USAID partner Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million of that total.

New USAID Assistance Through the NPI Direct to Local Iraqi Groups That Are Helping Victims of ISIS Genocide

USAID is awarding small grants through the NPI that total approximately $4 million to six local groups in Northern Iraq to help religious and ethnic minorities targeted by ISIS. The new NPI implementers in Northern Iraq are the following:

Philadelphia Organization for Relief and Development: The award will establish a community center in the town of Qaraqosh to provide services for people with disabilities, training in employment skills, child care, and a community food bank.

Catholic University of Erbil: The award will provide classes in business language and computer software for widows, victims of abuse, and former captives of ISIS.

Top Mountain: The award will support a business incubator and employment program for Iraqi youth, which will promote entrepreneurship, provide business training, and build commercial networks.

Shlama Foundation: The award seeks to improve job opportunities through training engineers on the installation on solar power, provide electricity for families, and install solar-powered pumps for farms and street lighting for villages.

Beth Nahrain: The award will help re-establish a local, women-led organization decimated by ISIS. The organization will also provide small-business vocational training to women in the Nineveh Plains.

Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights: The award will provide trauma-rehabilitation and resilience services to survivors of genocide; legal services and programs in justice/reparations; and activities to promote inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue.

The United States remains committed to supporting persecuted religious and ethnic minorities in Northern Iraq. With these new awards, the total assistance the U.S. Government has provided since 2017 in Northern Iraq is now more than $400 million. These programs complement H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, which passed with bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and which President Donald J. Trump signed into law on December 11, 2018. Additional U.S. humanitarian assistance has also benefited the same Iraqi communities.

New Funding for the IOM and Samaritan’s Purse to Help Victims of ISIS Genocide

Administrator Green also announced at the Accord Network that Samaritan’s Purse will receive $9 million as a part of a new $18 million award to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support the return and recovery of displaced religious and ethnic minority communities in the Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh Province in Iraq.

New USAID Assistance in Global Health Through the NPI

Administrator Green also announced two new awards under the Agency’s NPI for global health. These awards, which total $68 million, will leverage the expertise and reach of local and locally established civil society and faith- and community-based organizations to increase the quality, access, and sustainability of health care.

The new NPI implementers for global health are the following:

World Relief: Working with local partners, World Relief will expand and leverage existing community networks in four countries to help strengthen maternal, reproductive, and child health at the local level.

Palladium International: This program will help reach USAID’s goal of increasing access to, and the uptake of, high-quality health care across priority areas, in line with USAID’s Journey to Self-Reliance. The partner will provide sub-awards to local organizations, along with mentoring and technical support to strengthen their capacity. Palladium will be expected to pass sixty-five percent of the total award to new and underutilized sub-awardees.

(Source: USAID)

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a workshop in Erbil, in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, on May 14, 2019, to discuss USAID’s New Partnership Initiative (NPI) with 30 local and faith-based Iraqi organizations.

USAID will co-create with successful applicants to award $3 million dollars by the end of this U.S. Government’s Fiscal Year to local and faith-based organizations.

The Iraq NPI Addendum will allow USAID to work directly with a more diverse range of partners in its continuing efforts to help religious and ethnic minority communities in Northern Iraq recover from the genocide perpetrated by the so-call Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The principles behind NPI appear in the Agency’s first-ever Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) Strategy.

The overall Agency NPI seeks to support governments, civil society, and the private sector in our partner countries’ as they make progress on the Journey to Self-Reliance, achieve sustainable and resilient results, and generate measurable impact.

(Source: USAID)

U.S. Government to Provide Additional $100 Million for Iraq Stabilization

US Chargé d’Affaires Joey Hood has announced that the United States Government intends to provide an additional $100 million to help stabilize liberated areas once held by the Islamic State.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide the funds to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).  With this $100 million contribution, the U.S. Government will have provided $358 million to stabilization efforts in Iraq since 2015.

The Funding Facility for Stabilization is supported by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and managed in cooperation with the Government of Iraq.

The United States and the GOI are committed to creating the conditions to allow displaced Iraqis to return to their homes and start to rebuild their lives.  Strengthened with new funding, this stabilization program will restore essential services, such as water, electricity, sewage, health, housing, and education.

In his announcement, the Chargé called on Anbar’s elected officials, tribal sheikhs, and residents to protect the project work sites and ‎do their part to re-integrate back into their communities all displaced Iraqis who wished to return home.

(Source: U.S. Embassy Baghdad)

Creativity flourishes as Mosul’s Fine Arts College officially opens

The newly-rehabilitated College of Fine Arts at Mosul University has been officially opened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Iraq.

The College, rehabilitated by UNDP with financial support from the United States Government through USAID, offers third-level art courses ranging from music, theatre, painting, and sculpture, and will benefit 600 students from across Iraq.

The renovation work included plastering and repainting the classroom walls, repairing doors and windows, replacing the roof and restoring electrical systems.

During ISIL’s occupation of Mosul between 2014 and 2017, the College suffered extensive damage and subsequently closed. Artworks were destroyed and strewn across the campus, as art-making was believed to contradict Islamic State ideology.

“Mosul once sat at the epicentre of Iraq’s cultural identity, so the reopening of this college is a significant milestone for local communities,” says Head of UNDP Stabilization, Dr Mohammedsiddig Mudawi.

“Art as a form of expression has allowed people of Mosul – many of them students who have been born into years of conflict – heal from the atrocities faced under ISIL.  It’s wonderful to see a rejuvenation of this artistic talent here at the College,” adds Dr. Mudawi.

Joey Hood, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission in Iraq, says: “Through the United Nations Development Program Funding Facility for Stabilization, the United States is rehabilitating 14 buildings here at Mosul University, including the College of Fine Arts, where1 I am proud to see that students are once again in class.”

The ceremony included a theatrical performance by art students as well as an art exhibition in the College’s refurbished courtyard.

The College rehabilitation project is also supported by the Government of Canada, which funded the rehabilitation of water pump station on campus. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) has funded the supply of furniture and equipment for the College.

(Source: UNDP)

US Assistance to Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Iraq

As part of the continued commitment by Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo (pictured), and USAID Administrator Green to support ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq as highlighted earlier this year at the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, the United States is proud to announce over $178 million in U.S. foreign assistance to support these vulnerable communities in Iraq. This brings total U.S. assistance for this population to nearly $300 million since Fiscal Year 2017, implemented by both the State Department and USAID.

The preservation of Iraq’s rich historical pluralism is critical to reintegrating persecuted ethnic and religious minority communities into a peaceful Iraq. U.S. efforts to meet this objective span government agencies and are being implemented urgently, in close partnership with local faith and community leaders. Our efforts focus on the following areas:

Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response (GRPR)

  • Over $133 million in recently launched activities supporting the four pillars of USAID’s GRPR Program, bringing total funding for GRPR to $239 million.
    • Meeting Immediate Needs: Over $51 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to populations from the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, includes safe drinking water, food, shelter materials and household items, medical care, and psychosocial support.
    • Helping Restore Communities: $9 million in funding to support early recovery needs and restore access to services like health and education.
    • Promoting Economic Recovery: $68 million in funding to improve access to jobs and markets, support local businesses, and revive the local economy.
    • Preventing Future Atrocities: $5 million to address systemic issues affecting minority populations and prevent future atrocities.

Clearing the Explosive Remnants of War

  • Approximately $37 million in funding to support explosive remnants of war (ERW) survey, clearance, and risk education in and around minority communities. This support has enabled the Department to significantly expand the number of U.S.-funded ERW survey, clearance, and risk education teams across Ninewa and fulfills the Secretary’s pledge to expand ERW clearance efforts in Iraqi minority communities made at the July 2018 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

Social, Economic, and Political Empowerment

  • $8.5 million in additional assistance to projects that provide psychosocial services, legal support, and initiatives to help collect evidence of human rights abuses; increase minority representation in local and provincial government; increase access to justice for children; strengthen rule of law; and provide livelihoods support and access to economic opportunities for vulnerable groups bringing the FY 2017 total to $18.5 million.

Preservation of Historic and Cultural Heritage Sites

  • $2 million in ongoing programming to support the preservation of cultural heritage sites in Northern Iraq that were targeted for destruction by ISIS and other terrorist groups, safeguarding, preserving, and restoring access to significant cultural heritage sites of minority communities.

(Source: US State Dept)

Iraq: Launch of Price Monitoring Dashboard Enhances Analytical Capacity of Partners

As the situation in Iraq develops, the importance of cash as a means of aid delivery remains central. Increasingly, humanitarian actors find themselves in need of accurate price data to better inform their programs and policies.

In September 2016, the Joint Price Monitoring Initiative (JPMI) was launched by the Cash Working Group (CWG) Iraq and REACH to provide regular price data across central and northern Iraq to inform better cash programming. For the project, price data is analyzed and presented at the district level.

After 17 months of data collection, the CWG and REACH with the support of USAID, have introduced a new online interactive JPMI dashboard to increase data usability and user engagement. Previously the findings of the JPMI were disseminated through a factsheet shared each month, but this did not allow for an easy comparison of data over time.

Much of the narrative was static and users indicated that a snapshot of monthly price change rather than a substantial text document would be more consumable.

Based on the feedback from users and CWG partners, the REACH Iraq team have developed an interactive online dashboard to replace the monthly factsheet. The dashboard allows users to see overall trends, the findings for each assessed month and the findings for each assessed district over time, facilitating longitudinal data analysis that helps inform cash-based programming.

Moreover, through the dashboard, users are able to access every dataset released since November 2016, meaning that all the data collected through the initiative is available in one place.

The CWG and REACH Iraq believe this is a more user-friendly way to display longitudinal price data. The dashboard is a unique resource for cash actors in Iraq that provides 17 months’ of longitudinal price data at the click of a button, which can help inform cash and market-based programming.

Future developments will see the online dashboard integrate other cash-based assessment such as the JRAM and provide deeper insights on the determinants of monthly price change in each district.

(Source: REACH)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) concluded a two-day workshop in Baghdad with 33 organizations seeking to create and design activities together that will assist in the voluntary return of displaced Iraqis to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, and to encourage those who are already in their communities to remain.

The workshop welcomed two senior advisers who attended on behalf of Vice President Mike Pence, further signaling the Administration’s strong commitment to finding innovative solutions to helping the return of displaced populations in Iraq and across the world.

“All Iraqi people suffered greatly during the cruel occupation by ISIS, and the United States is providing assistance to help displaced families return home, including to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, two areas that exemplify Iraq’s unique cultural heritage and religious tolerance.

We look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals that come out of this workshop,” stated Ambassador Douglas Silliman (pictured).

With the liberation of ISIS-controlled territory, approximately 3.5 million Iraqis have already returned home, yet another 2.3 million remain internally displaced. Many of those are from smaller, more vulnerable ethnic and religious groups.

Communities in the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa face unique and complex post-conflict challenges, and the factors that influence individuals to return to their homes and remain there need to be identified, assessed, and addressed.

USAID’s workshop provides an opportunity for organizations to create high-quality, effective, and efficient partnerships for research, development, and testing of innovative, practical, and cost-effective projects.

(Source: US Embassy)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed an additional US$ 80.85 million to The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

US$ 75 million will go to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), with the remaining US$ 5.85 million committed to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER). This brings the total United States contribution to UNDP to US$ 198.65 million since 2015.

UNDP’s FFS finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Through the FFER, UNDP helps the Government of Iraq to address key economic challenges and accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, increase national income and improve the management of national assets.

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

The progress that is being made is tangible—you can see it everywhere in newly liberated areas. Electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centres are functioning and people are getting back to work.

“More than half of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned to their communities and started rebuilding their lives. There’s no question that a huge amount still needs to be done, most importantly in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, and this is why this very generous contribution is so important for Iraq.

The United States’ Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman stressed that the USA’s commitment to the Iraqi people did not end with the eradication of ISIS. “Communities in the liberated areas now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and restoring their cultural heritage. These funds will help restore basic services like water and electricity so that Iraqi families of all ethnic and religious backgrounds can return to their homes – safely, voluntarily, and with dignity,” said Ambassador Silliman.

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and Diyala Governorates in order to safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Two-thirds of the more than 1,600 projects currently underway are in Nineveh Governorate including 500 in Mosul and 280 throughout the Nineveh Plains.  Established in September 2016, FFER is mobilizing expertise to support the implementation of top priority reform initiatives under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister.

(Source: UNDP)