“Unprecedented Upsurge” in Iraqis seeking Second Citizenship

By John Lee.

The escalating tensions between Baghdad and Erbil have triggered an unprecedented upsurge in applications from wealthy Iraqi nationals for second citizenship programs.

Data collected by Savory & Partners, one of the largest companies in the Middle East that provides citizenship-by-investment programs, shows that compared to the same quarter last year, interest has increased by 300 percent, while applications processed are more than 42 percent higher than last year.

Company founder and CEO Jeremy Savory (pictured) told Iraq Business News:

The immediate days following the Kurdistan referendum saw a remarkable spike in the number of applicants from Iraq, not only from Kurdish Iraqis, but from all parts of Iraq.

“In the past, the Iraqi passport was very strong … but over recent years the number of countries which have visa-free waivers has dropped considerably; hence, the need for second passport that enables people to travel to more countries visa free has seen a great spike.

We have done Iraqi citizenship applications for Iraqi nationals for all the five Caribbean jurisdictions, all of which have been approved by the government. We have done European citizenship applications for Malta and Cyprus for Iraqi nationals, too.

Iraqis constitute the company’s third largest client group after Syrians and Lebanese, with St. Kitts, Grenada and Dominica in the three most popular programs with an equal demand for all three programs. The company had only one Iraqi rejection in the last six years out of total of close to 800 passports, a rejection rate of less than 1 percent.

IBBC holds Successful Autumn Conference in Dubai

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. Abdullah Al Saleh, Under Secretary for Foreign Trade and Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy.

The Minister 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.

The Minister 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 Director 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)

Video: Kurdistan Secession Bid takes a toll on Economy

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The economy in the Kurdish region of Iraq has taken a hit after the referendum on secession.

The central government in Baghdad has closed international airspace, tourists are staying away, and there’s been fighting between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga.

And while a ceasefire is now in place, uncertainty continues to affect the region and its economy.

The Kurds are disappointed in the people they thought were their allies, especially the US.

Al Jazeera‘s Stefanie Dekker reports from Dohuk, Northern Iraq@

60 New Projects to be Announced at IBBC Dubai Conference

Iraqi ministers intend to announce and discuss up to 60 intended projects at the IBBC summit conference this weekend in Dubai.

In a surge of confidence, a number of Iraqi ministers will be unveiling a raft of infrastructure, oil, power and industrial projects across numerous industry sectors:

  • Construction: Water treatment, waste water, housing, malls & infrastructure projects
  • Industry & Minerals: 10 new projects, including petrochemicals, methanol and phosphates
  • Oil: 4 new refineries, 3 refurbishments and 2 new initiatives
  • Energy: 32 separate power projects
  • Transport: Port projects and new railways

Vikas Handa, Director of IBBC Dubai says:

We have been pleasantly surprised by the volume of opportunities the Iraqi Ministers have come forward with this Autumn, and it’s clear they are keen to drive forward economic development through major projects. There are also numerous adjacent opportunities on offer for a broad range of sectors.

“For those companies interested to attend the Conference, they will also be able to engage with the Delegation at more intimate round table discussions.

“We welcome companies to enjoy the inside track, to meet the attending ministers and discuss how your company can engage with these opportunities.

To attend, register and sign up for the conference here: www.webuildiraq.org/ibbc-conference/autumn-conference/

Opportunity for UAE Business: Key Iraqi Ministers come to Conference

Rebuilding Iraq is central to the agenda of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) autumn conference at The Address, Dubai Marina on 12th November.

The opportunity for businesses in the region to engage in Iraq is reflected by the attendance of a number of high profile Iraqi Ministers: from Electricity, Transport, Oil, Construction and Housing, to the Governor of Basrah and International financiers, including the IMF and World Bank.

Vikas Handa, the IBBC UAE representative agrees:

“Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC and has one of the biggest programmes for new power generation projects in the region; Iraq presents massive opportunities for housing, Infrastructure and FMCG businesses. The event is designed to discover the opportunities and projects live and intended in Iraq, for business people to meet the decision makers, to obtain insights and to network”.

UAE is increasingly seen as the regional hub for corporate operations in Iraq and the place where business decisions are determined.

We can confirm this as a range of leading international companies are attending, including GE, Siemens, BP, Wood, Serco, Shell, Petronas, Gulftainer, Zain, KCA Deutag, the International Islamic Bank and more. There will also be plenty of networking and engagement on the sidelines beyond the main stage.

The IBBC Dubai conference is also the location for the Governor of Basrah to outline his vision for the future, and it is expected ministers will outline the latest thinking on the evolving situation in Iraq and the opportunities this brings.

To register, please follow the link: http://www.webuildiraq.org/ibbc-conference/autumn-conference/

(Source: IBBC)

Opportunity for UAE Business: Key Iraqi Ministers come to Conference

Rebuilding Iraq is central to the agenda of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) autumn conference at The Address, Dubai Marina on 12th November.

The opportunity for businesses in the region to engage in Iraq is reflected by the attendance of a number of high profile Iraqi Ministers: from Electricity, Transport, Oil, Construction and Housing, to the Governor of Basrah and International financiers, including the IMF and World Bank.

Vikas Handa, the IBBC UAE representative agrees:

“Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC and has one of the biggest programmes for new power generation projects in the region; Iraq presents massive opportunities for housing, Infrastructure and FMCG businesses. The event is designed to discover the opportunities and projects live and intended in Iraq, for business people to meet the decision makers, to obtain insights and to network”.

UAE is increasingly seen as the regional hub for corporate operations in Iraq and the place where business decisions are determined.

We can confirm this as a range of leading international companies are attending, including GE, Siemens, BP, Wood, Serco, Shell, Petronas, Gulftainer, Zain, KCA Deutag, the International Islamic Bank and more. There will also be plenty of networking and engagement on the sidelines beyond the main stage.

The IBBC Dubai conference is also the location for the Governor of Basrah to outline his vision for the future, and it is expected ministers will outline the latest thinking on the evolving situation in Iraq and the opportunities this brings.

To register, please follow the link: http://www.webuildiraq.org/ibbc-conference/autumn-conference/

(Source: IBBC)

IBBC Delegation meets Basrah Governor

On Thursday 12th October a delegation of IBBC Members, led by Baroness Nicholson, Honorary President, met with H. E. Mr Asaad A., the recently appointed Governor of Basrah. The meeting took place in the Governor’s office, included a Lunch and lasted until the early evening.

The Governor presented his plans for Basrah and asked the company representatives how they could contribute to help achieve his ambitious objectives. IBBC members used the opportunity to introduce their companies and their services to the Governor and to participate in a wide ranging discussion with him.

Mr Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC, who facilitated the meeting was delighted with its many outcomes. He said that with Mr Edani at the helm of the Governorate the Province had a real chance to develop and modernise. He further commented that IBBC and all of its members stood ready to support Governor in his crucial work.

The IBBC delegation included representatives of the following companies: Basrah Engineering Group, Basrah Chamber of Commerce, Dar Al-Handasah, Ernst & Young, Garda World, Gulftainer, International Islamic Bank, Khudairi Group, Pell Frischmann, Penspen, Petrofac, Raatba Contracting Company, Restrata, Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO) and Solar Turbines.

The meeting was also attended by Dr Ali Nasir and Phil Sherwood of the AMAR foundation.

(Source: IBBC)

IBBC Autumn Conference 2017: ‘Together We Build Iraq’

IBBC Autumn Conference 2017: ‘Together We Build Iraq’
12 November 2017, The Address Dubai Marina, Dubai

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is pleased to invite you to the IBBC Autumn Conference at The Address Hotel Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday 12 November 2017.

This years’ event follows IBBC’s successful inaugural conference of 2016 held in the UAE, a hub for global and regional companies that operate in the Middle East.

The theme of this year’s Autumn Conference isTogether We Build Iraqand will focus predominantly on the ongoing effects and needs of Iraq’s reconstruction and the opportunities of investment available to British and International companies during this process. There will also be panels discussing the Power and Oil & Gas sectors.

The five conference sessions will focus on:

  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the Economy in Iraq
  • Reconstruction and Infrastructure – The Built Environment
  • Enabling Reconstruction
  • Power
  • Oil & Gas

The IBBC Autumn Conference 2017 will be chaired by Vikas Handa, IBBC UAE Representative and will be led by the following confirmed speakers:

  • Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan & Turkmenistan and President of IBBC
  • H.E. Mr Qasim Al-Fahdawi, Minister of Electricity
  • H.E. Mr Kadhim Finjan Al Hamimi, Minister of Transport
  • H.E. Mrs Ann Nafi Aussi Balbool, Minister of Construction, Housing and Public Municipalities
  • H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission
  • Marwa Alnasaa, Resident Representative for Iraq, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Dr Jaafar Dhia Jaafar, CEO, URUK Engineering
  • Zaid Elyaseri, Iraq Country Manager, BP
  • Peter Mohring, Managing Director – Aviation & Defence, Serco
  • Zeeshan A. Sheikh, EMENA Infrastructure & Natural Resources, International Finance Corporation
  • Suha AlKifaee, Managing Director, IIB
  • Zaid Al-Ansari, Executive Country Manager-Iraq, GE
  • Tarek Hamade, Environment & Infrastructure lead for the Middle East, Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Tawfiq Tabbaa, Managing Partner – Iraq, Eversheds Sutherland
  • Salem Chalabi, Partner, Stephenson Harwood Middle East LLP
  • Nikolay Dimitrov, Business Development Manager (Middle East and Africa), KCA Deutag
  • Anne Kerr, Global Head – Urbanisation, Mott MacDonald
  • Iain Rawlinson, Group Commercial Director, Gulftainer
  • Phill Sherwood, Executive Director, AMAR International Charitable Foundation
  • Danielle Montgomery, Managing Director, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, OPIC

A pre-conference reception and networking event will be held on Saturday 11 November at 18:00 at the Address Dubai Marina.

IBBC warmly thanks the International Islamic Bank, which has generously agreed to be the event’s Gold Sponsor, in addition to Silver sponsors Serco & Gulftainer. Completing the sponsorship line-up are Amec Foster Wheeler, which will serve as the Reception sponsor, and Coffee Break Sponsors KCA Deutag & Eversheds Sutherland.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please email london@webuildiraq.org for details.

Registration is now open. The registration fee for non-members is £700. IBBC members and members of partner organisations are entitled to special discounted rates. To request the discount codes or if you need assistance, please email the team at london@webuildiraq.org or phone +44 (0) 20 7222 7100.

The IBBC team looks forward to seeing you in Dubai for the Autumn Conference.

Download the latest Agenda Here.

Post-Referendum Threats And Demands

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Kurdish Politicians Talk About Post-Referendum Threats And Demands

While many uncertainties remain about Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum on independence, there is one thing that seems clear to the people on the streets: On the day, the semi-autonomous region felt united in a way that it has not been for a long time.

Part of the reason Iraqi Kurdistan has remained an oasis of relative calm and security, while the rest of Iraq fell apart during the recent security crisis caused by the extremist group known as the Islamic State and earlier, is that the Kurdish people have always considered their ethnicity more important than the religious sect they belong to.

Ethnicity has trumped religion in their case and, despite infighting, has tended to unite locals in this area, with the long-term goal being to form their own nation.

In many other situations recently, the Kurdish have been divided – often between the two zones that basically make up the semi-autonomous northern region, which are run by the two major political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK.

Up until the very last minute some of the region’s political parties remained opposed to the referendum. The KDP, the PUK and the Kurdistan Islamic Union had supported the referendum while the Change movement, also known as Goran, and the Islamic Group of Kurdistan wanted it postponed.

Just one day before the referendum though, when it became clear it was going ahead, the Islamic Group of Kurdistan relented and senior members said they would be voting “yes” in the poll.

Even the Change movement, a long-time opposition group in the region that formed on an anti-corruption platform, told members to follow their own consciences. Then the movement also told members they should vote, and that they should vote “yes”.

Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor: If Baghdad Blockades Us, ‘We Will Manage’

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor: If Baghdad Blockades Us, ‘We Will Manage’

In an interview, the controversial governor of Kirkuk, Najmuddin Karim, talks about Baghdad’s attempts to fire him, military tensions and what happens if Baghdad stops sending money.

On September 14, the Iraqi parliament voted to dismiss the governor of Kirkuk from his post. The decision came after the governor, Najmuddin Karim, said that the Kirkuk area would also take part in the Kurdish referendum on independence held this week, on Monday.

The Kurdish minority in Iraq want their region to secede from the rest of Iraq and to begin to start a new nation; they already have their own government, military, and borders.

The decision on Karim’s position was made in the Iraqi parliament even though Kurdish MPs boycotted the vote. Karim rejected the dismissal as did the political party he belongs to, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, and the Iraqi Kurdish government, which controls the semi-autonomous northern region.

The Kirkuk provincial council also supported the governor. However Arab and Turkmen members of the council who represent a significant proportion of Kirkuk’s population boycotted the session.

Kirkuk is one of Iraq’s most controversial “disputed areas” – that is, an area that the Iraqi government says belongs to Iraq but which the Kurdish believe should be part of their region. Although the Iraqi Kurdish military control the district, the population includes significant numbers of Arabs and Turkmen too, and this is why the city is often referred to as a potential flashpoint for ethnic conflict.

Karim spoke to NIQASH about the Kurdish referendum on independence as well as his dismissal and its ramifications for his authority in Kirkuk in the future.

NIQASH: There were a number of different options presented to the Kurdish leadership along with requests to postpone the referendum, but none of them seemed to be acceptable. Why?

Najmuddin Karim: The alternative proposals were not concrete. When the Iraqi prime minister spoke about problems, he was talking about amending the Constitution, which isn’t possible. We would only have agreed to postpone the referendum on condition that a date for Kurdish independence was set. There is no doubt that Kirkuk has a Kurdish identity and that its fate is entwined with that of the Kurdish region.