IBBC Webinar: Causes and Cures for Iraqi Corruption

Corruption Worse Than ISIS: Causes and Cures for Iraqi Corruption

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is delighted to invite you to the public launch of Professor Frank Gunther's new paper on corruption in Iraq on Monday 26th of April from 1pm - 2pm BST.

Following the presentation of the paper there will be comments from Dr Renad Masour, Chatham House, and Maya Gebeily, AFP. The ensuing discussion will be moderated by Shwan Aziz Ahmed from the IBBC Advisory Council.

Read the paper here

Register Here

Speakers:

Frank R. Gunter is a Professor of Economics, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a retired U.S. Marine Colonel. After receiving his Doctorate in Political Economy from Johns Hopkins University in 1985, Frank joined the faculty of Lehigh University where he teaches Principles of Economics, Economic Development, and the Political Economy of Iraq. He has won four major and multiple minor awards for teaching excellence. Based on his two years in Iraq as an economic advisor to the US Government, Frank wrote The Political Economy of Iraq: Restoring Balance in a Post-Conflict Society (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). This book was published in both English and Arabic and was selected as an "Outstanding Academic Title" by Choice magazine. His most recent work, "Immunizing Iraq Against al Qaeda 3.0" (Orbis, 2018, Vol. 62, No. 3, pp. 389-408), discusses the possible economic causes of political instability in Iraq. Frank is married with three children and his family shares their Pennsylvania home with over 4,000 books.

Ms Maya Gebeily is a reporter with Agence-France Presse based in Baghdad, where she covers Iraqi politics, security, economics, and societal developments. Before this posting, Maya spent three years at AFP's Beirut bureau covering the Syrian conflict. She covered Lebanon and Syria at local Lebanese news website NOW News, and have reported as a freelancer out of Beirut, Istanbul, and the Kurdish region of Iraq in recent years.

Dr Renad Mansour is a senior research fellow and project director of the Iraq Initiative at Chatham House. He is also a senior research fellow at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, and a research fellow at the Cambridge Security Initiative based at Cambridge University. Renad was previously a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he taught the international relations of the Middle East and, from 2013, he held positions as lecturer of international studies and supervisor at the Faculty of Politics, also at Cambridge.

Moderator:

Abdul Aziz (Shwan) A. Ahmed, is the immediate past Chief of Staff to Deputy Prime Minister Dr Fuad Hussain and before him Deputy Prime Minister Dr Rowsch Nouri Shaways. As Chief of Staff he oversaw an office of 70 including 5 Director Generals,  covering the portfolios of Politics, Economics, International Partnerships, Media & Public Relations and Finance & Administration. In this position he has been at the heart of the Iraqi Government for the past 10 years actively participating in the work of several administrations. From 1997 to 2009 Shwan had a distinguished career at UNDP in several countries with his last posting being the Head of UNDP office in Puntland/Somalia from 2006 to 2009. He managed his own engineering business in Iraq from 1993 to 1997 and worked for the Ministry of Industry from 1987 to 1993. He graduated from the University of Technology in Baghdad in as Systems and Control Engineering in 1983. Shwan is happily married with three adult children. He is of Baghdadi Kurdish and Finish origin and is fully fluent in Arabic, Kurdish and English.

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Iraqi PM lays Foundation Stone for $4bn Refinery Project

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has laid the foundation stone for the South Refineries Company (SRC)'s new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) complex at Basrah Refinery.

The project will be built by Japan's JGC Corporation, and will increase refinery capacity by 55,000 barrels per day (bpd).

It will be funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

More information here, here and here.

(Sources: Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

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Invitation to IBBC Members’ Introduction Webinar







Dar Al Handasah has provided consultancy services to more than 950 clients in 60 countries, and has handled projects involving a total investment cost of over US$ 300 billion. Through these projects, we participate actively in the development of our societies. With a permanent staff of 9,850 and over 4,000 successfully completed projects, DAR has in-house expertise and experience to cover a wide range of engineering fields.

AlBilal Group was Founded in 1993 by Mr. Akeel Abdul Razzak, AlBilal Group has for more than two decades operated across diverse development sectors including Oil & Gas, Power, Water and Infrastructure. The years that followed the tenuous security, socio-political and economic dynamics in Iraq, AlBilal Group emerged as a preferred and a reliable partner to international development agencies and companies such as USDoD, USACE, Black & Veatch, and Washington International in support of the Iraq's re-construction and development programs.

The National Bank of Iraq (NBI) was founded in 1995 as a publicly traded, private sector company, offering comprehensive banking services to individuals and businesses in Iraq. As a result of the Bank's success and to fuel future growth, its paid up capital was increased from the initial 400 million IQD (USD 361,000) to IQD 250 billion (USD 215 million) in December 2013. In 2005, Capital Bank Jordan acquired majority shares (61.85%) in NBI, allowing the Bank to expand its business offerings, strengthen its global footprint and help promote financial inclusion across the country.

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Italy, UNOPS to provide Services for Returnees in Sinjar

AICS and UNOPS Partner to Rehabilitate the Basic Services for Returnees in Sinjar, Iraq

The Italian Cooperation and UNOPS launched a new project to support the Government of Iraq in rehabilitating basic services to returnees in Sinjar.

The project will support the Government of Iraq in rehabilitating the basic water services for returnees in Sinjar district in Iraq, through a partnership with the Government of Italy.

The project will contribute to achieving the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq: Post-conflict transition towards durable solutions by supporting access to basic services to increase the resilience of returnees in target locations.

Since 2018, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) office in Amman has also been responsible for implementing international cooperation initiatives in Iraq. "Our support has focused on the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) and neighbouring areas such as the Ninewa plains, which experienced high rates of return after the massive displacement of the resident population," said the Head of AICS Amman office Mr. Michele Morana.

"This project comes in line with the Italian Cooperation's aid priorities targeting the health and protection sectors in the Country, as it addresses immediate recovery and aims to improve accessibility, inclusiveness and quality of basic services for minorities and local communities".

"The Government of Italy fully supports the urgent need to rebuild Sinjar, through the restoration of basic services as key to incentivizing the return of still displaced people. Every effort should also be taken to reintegrate returnees within their communities and provide them with tangible support to rebuild their lives" said the Ambassador of Italy to Iraq Bruno Antonio Pasquino.

"Thanks to the support from the Italian Cooperation, UNOPS is able to lend a hand to the people returning to Sinjar District in Iraq. Access to water supplies is one of the many challenges faced by returnees and their families. The rehabilitation of basic services in the district will contribute to improving Sinjar water infrastructure and eventually improving people's lives." said Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram, the Director of UNOPS Operational Hub in Amman.

Through this project, the targeted populations will benefit from improved and rehabilitated basic water facilities. UNOPS will focus on the improvement of water services in Sinjar district. The main focus would be to rehabilitate damaged water facilities, such as potable and/or storm water pumps, generators, parts of water treatment units.

The intervention will also include innovative technologies, such as renewable and hybrid systems, where applicable, in target locations. It is envisaged that this project will support the Government in its efforts towards the realization of Agenda 2030 and more specifically contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); specifically, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being and SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Sinjar is one of the four districts in Ninewa that presents a higher severity of needs, whereby the well-being, living standards, and ultimately resilience and recovery capacity of the local communities, as well as their social cohesion and safety, are all severely impacted as a result of unmet needs.

(Source: UN)

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Iraqi Cabinet approves New “Alternative Energy” Power Plants

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Cabinet has agreed to approve a recommendation from the National Investment Commission (NIC) for the Ministry of Electricity to proceed with an investment project for the construction of seven "alternative energy" power plants.

The new power stations are to be built in Karbala, Wasit, Babylon, and Al-Muthanna provinces.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Successful IBBC Conference in Dubai

IBBC's 5th Annual Iraq Conference in Dubai - Opportunity in Adversity

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was much praised at its conference on Thursday for pioneering in COVID-19 times by bringing together senior officials from Iraq, the UAE and the UK, prominent international and Iraqi businessmen, bankers and professional advisers as speakers and over 100 delegates.

With the Address Hotel as host venue implementing the strictest hygiene regime and using video links, delegates enjoyed a day of vigorous analysis and debate about the issues currently creating the adverse conditions dominating the Iraqi political and business landscape and what measures were needed to improve matters, but nevertheless inspirational presentations highlighted success stories across a number of sectors in panel sessions covering energy, finance, infrastructure/logistics and tech.

Highlights of the day were presentations made by Mrs Zena Yousif Iraq consul general in Dubai, the first woman to ever hold that position, and the fact that all the leaders of the energy companies presenting were Iraqi nationals for the first time ever, namely Mr Zaid Elyaseri, Vice President Iraq from BP, Mr Ali Al Janabi, Chairman, from Shell, Mr Musab Alkateeb, Managing Director, from Siemens Energy, and all were addressing common global issues currently affecting that sector - low oil and gas prices, environmental and green issues.

Mr Aziz Khudairi, Chairman of the Khudairi Group with multiple businesses in Iraq urged the Iraqi Government to embrace the private sector to grow prosperity in Iraq and to provide employment for the millions of young Iraqis, to protect Iraqi businesses from unfair dumping by foreign competitors, but in return emphasised the need for the Iraqi workforce to rediscover a work ethic so that Iraqi companies would become efficient and profitable.

Baroness Nicholson made her Welcome Address by video link from London and at the end of the day announced the new annual award to be made to an Iraqi SME for its contribution to business in Iraq, in memory of the recently deceased Engineer Rasmi al Jabri, IBBC deputy chairman.

Amongst the many excellent speakers were:

  • H.E. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, UAE
  • H.E. Dr Abdulkariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Advisory Commission
  • Mrs Zena Yousif, Consulate General of Iraq in Dubai
  • Mr Simon Penny, Her Majesty's UK Trade Commissioner for the Middle East

Conference Sponsors were Basra Gateway Terminal, Siemens Energy and Serco.

Vikas Handa of Gulftek, Conference chairman said:

"Today's IBBC conference in Dubai is the testimony of human resilience on the face of adversity. We had unexpected turnout & great participation from the ministers, industry leaders and businesses from Iraq, UAE & UK.

"We covered a lot of ground to chart the way forward, network & learn from each other. I along with IBBC MD Christophe Michels would like to thank our key members for their unwavering support to make it happen."

In parallel

The Tech Forum took place online, with participants from Iraq, UK, Dubai and France, to review and discuss the digitisation of Iraq, based on the World Bank's Report in April.

Chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC, we reviewed how the Government of Iraq ( GOI ) and digital development in general has been evolving since April, as Alexandre Laure, the World bank Sector specialist, who wrote the report - shared with us areas of development : namely, 6 key areas : Digital inclusion, banking and finance, Investment, Infrastructure, SMEs and start-ups, skill development and linking to external digital organisations. Two areas of progress include the establishment of a Tech fund for start-ups and SME investment, and the payment of Government salaries directly to bank accounts digitally. Additionally, there are areas of deregulation for start -ups and new businesses, although the registration cost of $37500 was deemed exclusionary for most start-ups.

Jawad Abbasi of GSMA MENA said that 4G infrastructure is critical in extending internet across Iraq, and this has been put on hold for the moment. This would increase the ability of users to trade, exchange and create new products on-line, as well as boost the digital economy. Yazen Altimimi CEO of Zain Cash echoed this issue as Zain are often blamed for poor internet experience, when it's an infrastructure issue. Zain's consumer uptake is rapid and there is a healthy growth and interest in the digital economy as a business and consumer medium. If 4G can be delivered the economy will see a rapid upswing. In short there is pent up demand and an appetite from consumers to transact on- line, so it makes sense to deliver 4G to ensure the whole economy expands.

Laura Oliver, director of Iraq Tech Ventures, amplified the issue for start -ups and SME.s who want to trade on line, and the raised the issue of the high cost of registration that prohibits start-ups registering formally, and therefore rely on the cash economy, so they are unable to get formal credit and investment. These two issues, of 4G and registration should be straight forward to address and would make a big different to the overall digital development of the Iraqi economy, and encourage investment from external digital companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

In a second panel: Online Consumer behaviour, Caroline McGarr of ThinkBank - a leading research agency in Irbil, presented key finding among Iraqi consumers between 18-45, and again found a big demand for consumer goods, banking on line for an unbanked 83% of the population. In sectors such as Fashion, health and social media there is enormous pent up demand as over 50% of these people spend over 5 hours a day on-line. Again, the issue of reliable internet, useful apps and products to purchase and reliability of banking, echo the first panel's concerns.

The overall message from both panels is that there is huge unmet demand among youthful Iraqi's for more services, better internet, better banking (trust) and online interaction with Government and products that will be better served by better internet and the proliferation of new goods and services from SMEs and start-ups, who themselves are constrained by registration fees and investment.

A full video of the sessions, including the presentation charts can be viewed here

For more information please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

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Iraq Pushes Faw Refinery Project

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil has invited international companies to participate in the competition to implement the Faw Refinery Project in Basra.

The project will be offered on a BOO (Build, Own, Operate) or BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) basis.

Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail said the refinery will be environmentally friendly and in conformity with international standards (EURO 5), adding that a petrochemical complex will be added to the project in the future.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

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Fmr Australian Exec Arrested over Alleged Iraq Bribery

By John Lee.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has made one arrest, and issued a further two arrest warrants, following an investigation into alleged improper payments made by Singapore-registered Leighton Offshore Pty Ltd, regarding two contracts with Iraq Crude Oil Export in 2010 and 2011.

The Sydney Morning Herald names the arrested suspect as Russell Waugh, a former senior executive from Australian construction giant Leighton Holdings.

Police will allege the key targets of the bribery scheme were Iraqi Ministry of Oil officials and government officials within Iraq's South Oil Company (SOC).

AFP investigators will allege Leighton Offshore Pty Ltd funnelled bribes through entities associated with a United Arab Emirates-based businessman, and Monaco-based Unaoil, to guarantee approvals for the Iraq Crude Oil Export contracts.

More here and here.

(Sources: Australian Federal Police, Sydney Morning Herald)

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KRG DPM Talabani to Speak at Virtual Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum

Kurdistan's Deputy Prime Minister HE Qubad Talabani to Speak at the Virtual Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum

  • Inaugural Conference set to navigate the economic future Kurdistan and Iraq
  • Conference will include online sessions available live and on demand for all attendees
  • Delegates will gain insights into the latest policy and project announcements, crucial for successful investment decisions in the region as well as the key recovery strategies post pandemic
  • Virtual Event will take place on 17 - 18 November through an interactive platform

CWC and Global Future Energy are hosting the Kurdistan-Iraq Economic Forum with the support of the KRG High Commission to the UK.

Sponsored by Chevron, the Forum aims to be the first gathering dedicated to the economic diversification of the Region, and will include 6 panel sessions, enabling senior decision makers across multiple industries to engage with each other virtually to address current issues and facilitate practical solutions to advance the economy in these challenging times.

Confirmed speakers include:

  1. HE Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister, Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq HE
  2. HE Safeen Dizayee, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  3. HE Karwan Jamal, Kurdistan Region High Representative to the UK, London
  4. HE Dr Amanj Raheem, Cabinet Minister, Member of the Oil & Gas Council, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  5. HE Kamal Muslim Saeed, Minister of Trade & Industry, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
  6. Matthew M. Zais, Ph.D., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs, US Department of Energy

"The Kurdistan Region has an opportunity to become an important commercial centre in Iraq and the region in order to attract foreign investments to implement strategic projects" said Prime Minister Barzani last month at the Supreme Economic Council meeting in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and a number of ministers and governors.

In light of the current unprecedented circumstances, decision-makers and influencers from various industries will gather to unlock new business opportunities on all levels of the economy   by addressing the following themes:

  • Extending the Value Chain beyond Producing Oil: How the Oil Sector Could Enrich Economic Diversification?
  • Kurdistan plans to privatize the electricity sector, opportunities for investors
  • Diversifying the energy mix to increase the role of gas and renewables
  • How to grow non-oil sectors that will provide a sustainable source of growth?
  • Fiscal reforms packages to support the recovery of post pandemic
  • Maximizing strategic alignment with the major companies to support in building the region's infrastructure
  • Promoting the growth of the economy through innovations in procurement and financial supply chain management processes

Over the past decade, the CWC Iraq Portfolio has hosted over 100+ Ministers and Senior Officials at various events. The Inaugural Kurdistan Iraq Economic Forum will bring together the international commercial executives interested in investing in Kurdistan.  CWC, now a brand of Global Future Energy, will again provide the only international platform for high level stakeholders in the Region to convene.

For further information, visit https://www.kurdistan-economic.com/

To access the full programme, please click here.

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Cabinet commits resources to Dhi Qar province

The Iraqi Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting in the city Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province on Monday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister said that the people of Dhi Qar had sacrificed much for Iraq, but they have suffered from the consequences of past marginalisation. He affirmed that this government is determined to address the challenges facing the province.

Following discussions, the Cabinet approved several measures to improve services and boost investment in Dhi Qar, including:

  • Establish Dhi Qar Reconstruction Council to oversee the implementation of key projects in the province
  • Establish a working group to review all delayed and incomplete projects in Dhi Qar to ensure that work on these projects is resumed, giving a priority to projects that have direct impact on the lives of citizens. The working group will be chaired by the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers, with the membership of the Governor of Dhi Qar, the Deputy Minister of Planning, the Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Municipalities, and representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Electricity, Oil and Education
  • Grant the Governor of Dhi Qar the necessary powers to oversee the construction of new roads, rehabilitation of water purification plants, and the rehabilitation and maintenance of hospitals and health centres
  • Direct the Ministry of Oil to allocate 500 million dinars annually to the Heart Centre in Dhi Qar and to the local Health Department
  • Direct the Ministry of Communications to allocate 10 billion dinars to Dhi Qar
  • Direct the Ministry of Health to provide hospitals in the province with medical equipment and supplies
  • Direct the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research to follow up on the progress of Al-Shatra University Project which was established in 2013
  • Direct the Agricultural Bank, the Housing Fund and the Industrial Bank to simplify the procedures for granting loans to the people of Dhi Qar because of the exceptional circumstances facing the province
  • Expedite the completion of Dhi Qar Industrial City and Dhi Qar Refinery
  • Expedite the construction of school buildings and hospitals with a high completion rate

The Cabinet also approved several technical and administrative measures related to Dhi Qar aimed at delivering tangible and rapid improvement across a number of key public services.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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