Tech Forum at the IBBC Dubai Conference

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)

Iraq to Build 5 New Refineries

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has reportedly announced that it will select a number of international investment companies to build five new refineries around the country:

  1. Kirkuk with a capacity of 70,000 barrels per day (bpd);
  2. Wasit capacity of 140,000 bpd;
  3. Nasiriyah capacity of 140,000 bpd;
  4. Basra card 140,000 bpd; and
  5. al-Faw capacity of 300,000 bpd.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Ministry is financing Karbala refinery which is about 78 percent completed, and once it is fully constructed, it will provide about 9 million liters per day of high-quality gasoline, in addition to various oil derivatives in accordance with international standards.

(Source: Asharq Al-Awsat)

(Pictured: Baiji Oil Refinery)

Conference: Find Out What’s Happening in Iraqi Business

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…

Iraq Targets Increased Investment from Russia

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister Muayad Salih has said that he expects Russian companies to increase their investment in Iraq.

Tass quotes him as saying that a Russian company is starting to develop of fields in the area of the Ramadi city, adding:

“Hopefully investments there will top $45 billion by 2030.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Legal Department at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Mr. Luqman Al-Faily, met with the Russian ambassador to Baghdad Mr. Maxim Maksimov, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad.

During the meeting, they discussed procedures for the mutual exemption of entry visas between the two countries for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports.

(Sources: Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Tass)

Cabinet Approves Iraq-Jordan Pipeline, Offshore Oil Exporting Facilities

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Adil Abd Al-Mahdi, at which it discussed a series of recommendations by the Ministerial Committee for Energy regarding a number of strategic projects aimed at increasing Iraq’s oil production and exporting capacities.

The Cabinet approved the proposed Iraq-Jordan oil pipeline, and the construction of offshore oil exporting facilities in Iraq’s territorial waters in the Gulf.

it also discussed a number of infrastructure and service projects and approved a proposal from the Ministry of Construction and Housing for a pedestrian bridge in the Gherai’at area in Baghdad.

The Cabinet also approved several measures to encourage Iraqi, Arab and international investment in Iraq, including further action to cut red tape and streamline procedures.

The Cabinet approved a draft law on the accession by the Republic of Iraq to the 1997 Protocol to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973) as modified by the 1978 Protocol.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

GKP announces Share Buyback

By John Lee.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) has announced its intention to commence a share buyback programme, using the company’s existing cash resources to make market purchases of Gulf Keystone common shares for a maximum consideration of US$25 million, with the first stage of that programme being initiated now to purchase Gulf Keystone shares for an initial amount of US$15 million.  

The buyback programme is aligned with the company’s focus on capital allocation and will be an accretive use of funds whilst not impacting the company’s ability to continue the execution of its existing investment programme.  It will be executed in accordance with the company’s general authorities to make on market purchases which was approved by shareholders at the company’s AGM on 21 June 2019.

The company has entered into an agreement with its brokers Canaccord Genuity Limited and Peel Hunt LLP to carry out purchases of the Initial Amount under the buyback programme on its behalf on an irrevocable and non-discretionary basis.

(Source: GKP)

Govt reports on Implementation of 2018-22 Programme

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has issued a report on the implementation of its 2018-2022 programme.

The report covers the period from October 2018, when the government came to office, to April 2019, providing an overview of what has been implemented from the government programme, identifying obstacles that may impede the completion of several projects, and outlining measures to address them.

Iraqi officials say that the report, the first of its kind to be issued by an Iraqi government, is an important measure to strengthen transparency and hold the government accountable before the Iraqi people and their parliamentary representatives.

Click here to download the report (Arabic only)

(Source: Government of Iraq)

IBBC hosts Members’ Retreat at Cumberland Lodge

This weekend, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted its annual members’ retreat at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Park, which was generously sponsored by Al Burhan Group.

As with previous years, it was very well attended by over seventy delegates, and allowed our members to mingle and network with representatives of other businesses, civil servants, and Iraqi government dignitaries.

Speakers and organisations represented included:

  • Dr Falah Al Amiri, Advisor to the Ministry of Oil, Government of Iraq
  • Dr Hameed Ahmed, Deputy Higher Education Minister
  • Eng. Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister of Housing, Construction & Municipalities
  • Jon Wilks CMG, HM Ambassador to Iraq
  • Beverley Simpson, Director, Department of International Trade (DIT) in Iraq
  • Dr Victoria Lindsay, Director, British Council, Iraq
  • Emma Sky, Director, Greenberg World Fellows Program, Yale University
  • Nicolas Pelham, The Economist
  • Professor Toby Dodge, London School of Economics
  • Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House
  • Al Burhan Group
  • Basra Gateway Terminal
  • Bath Spa University
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Constellis
  • ExxonMobil
  • Financial Times
  • G4S
  • KBR
  • Management Partners
  • Mosul University
  • OiLSERV Kuwait
  • Petrofac
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Serco
  • Shire Oak International
  • Stirling Education
  • Tube Tech International
  • TurnKey LLC
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Sheffield
  • Wood Plc

Sessions included discussions and panels on the state of Iraq, contemporary Middle Eastern politics, meetings for our various sector tables (including oil and gas, and construction and infrastructure), economic development strategies for Iraq, and how higher education partnerships could be developed between the UK and Iraq. A biannual council meeting for representatives of our member organisations was also held.

Christophe Michels, Managing Director of the IBBC was happy with how the weekend went:

“As in previous years the Retreat has attracted some of the finest minds from business, academia, politics, media and diplomacy working on Iraq to conduct truly meaningful and intimate discussions”.

Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan said:

“IBBC has had a fantastically happy and hugely productive busy weekend. We call it a retreat, but I am not sure what it was a retreat from! People were working morning, noon, and night, and they were making great achievements, and huge strides in the various different table meetings…one of the best I can ever remember”.

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

(Source: IBBC)

“Invaluable Steps” to Cement Ties with Iraq

Iran Has Taken Invaluable Steps to Cement Ties with Iraq: Envoy

Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries and said Tehran has taken major strides to strengthen ties with Baghdad.

“We are trying to boost our relations with Iraq in all areas,” Masjedi said, addressing an appreciation ceremony for the outgoing Iranian consuls in the Iraqi cities of Sulaymaniyah and Karbala.

“The embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Baghdad, as well as the affiliated organizations and consulates and other governmental agencies of Iran in Iraq, have taken invaluable strides and actions at various political, economic and security levels to strengthen relations between the two countries in recent years,” the diplomat noted.

Masjedi further pointed to historical, cultural and ideological commonalities of the two countries and said closer ties in all fields are in line with the interests of both Iran and Iraq.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently paid an official visit to Iraq to boost ties with the Arab country in the sanctions era.

US President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans in March to extend a 90-day waiver for the second time to let Iraq continue energy imports from Iran.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)