Meet Top Iraqi Officials at IBBC Conference

Hear Iraq's principal ministers and financiers share their vision and policies for Energy, Finance and Educational sectors at IBBC's Mansion House conference on 24th May.

Iraq is on the cusp of forming a new Government and is benefitting from high oil revenues and stability. The IBBC Spring conference is ideally timed for a potential new Government announcement with key players in both oil and finance speaking and sharing their vision of what policies and the future landscape lies in store for Iraq and the private sector.

Iraq is clearly open for business, and we can expect to hear strong indicators of where the economy and investment will be directed and how banks and government expect to achieve this.

Addressing the new government agenda of reforms, we have a panel dedicated to the Iraqi Government White paper, led by Dr Alaa, the executive director or the Prime Minister's reform unit.

It is also expected that the Minister of Oil will announce several investment opportunities that will be discussed in a separate session after the energy panel during the afternoon

This is your opportunity to meet these confirmed speakers: the Minister of Oil H.E. Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, H.E Mr. Mustafa Ghalib Mukheef, Ms Taif Sami, Deputy Minister of finance, the Minister of youth and sport H.E. Adnan Darjal Motar Al-Rubaye, and higher education, as well as a Dr Salem Chalabi, President & Chairman of the Trade Bank of Iraq and a delegation of Iraqi private banks. In addition, key IBBC members including BP country director Zaid Elysari, Shell, Total, GE, Siemens, KBR, SKA, Serco, Petronor and Petrofac, PWC, EY, Standard Chartered Bank, JP Morgan, TBI, SAP, Barclays, City and Guilds among many, and from the UK Government Mr Louis Taylor, director of UKEF are attending.

The overall theme will examine how Iraq can sustain economic growth going forward, through the significant speaker energy, finance and Insurance panels who will discuss this at length.

New topics include privatisation of state-owned enterprises at a round table discussion led by Prof. Frank Gunter with the participation of the Prime Minister's Office, additionally, a special paper on the subject written by members of the IBBC Advisory Council will be launched on the day and form the backdrop of the discussion.

Panels on project finance and energy transition are included during the day.

Beyond these topics many companies will find ample opportunity to meet the key speakers, as well as network with large businesses in Iraq and UK during the conference and in separate sessions. IBBC constantly advocates for the opportunity of private business to change economies and this conference confirms the benefits business brings to Iraq.

Economic sustainability is not just confined to energy and finance sectors as the knock-on effect of an expanding economy is creating big demand for skilled employees across all sectors, an issue that will be addressed by the educational panel including MSelect, who's Iraq employment report has shed great light on the unprecedented nature of skills and sectoral requirements and how they might be addressed.

IBBC are very proud to be holding, possibly our best conference and we hope those companies' operating in Iraq and considering joining our council, will attend at this time of opportunity and evolution for Iraq's economy to meet the people who are shaping its future.

Click here to register.

(Source: IBBC)

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Iraq debates New Oil Pipeline to Jordan

From Amwaj Media. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

PM Kadhimi under fire as Iraq debates new oil pipeline to Jordan

Since taking office in May 2020, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has placed the activation of an oil pipeline to Jordan at the top of his agenda.

The idea is to transfer crude from the southern city of Basra to the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba, reaching international markets via the Suez Canal.

However, plans for the pipeline have drawn heavy criticism from Iraqi political factions close to Tehran-despite the new opportunities it would create for Iran.

The full report can be viewed here (registration required).

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KRG Denies seizing control of Oil Fields

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has denied seizing the Bai Hassan and Dawd Gurg oil fields in Kirkuk from the Iraqi federal government's Ministry of Oil.

On Saturday, the North Oil Company (NOC), which is owned by the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), claimed that the KRG took over the fields in what it said was a contravention of Iraqi law.

The KRG has issued a statement saying the claims are, "completely untrue and are aimed at sowing discord."

Bai Hassan was originally controlled by the Ministry of Oil (Baghdad), but seized by KRG forces in July 2014. It was subsequently returned to Baghdad (NOC) control in 2017.

(Sources: NOC, KRG)

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Russian: ‘No objections’ to Kurdistan exporting Gas to Europe

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Russian ambassador to Iraq: 'No objections' to Kurdistan Region exporting gas to Europe

Elbrus Kutrashev (pictured) spoke to the Kurdish news outlet Rudaw about plans to export natural gas from the autonomous part of northern Iraq to Europe in response to the war in Ukraine.

Click here to read the full article.

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WFP Iraq Country Brief

WFP Iraq Country Brief, March 2022

In Numbers

  • 710,492 people assisted in March 2022
  • US$ 2.25 million distributed in March 2022 through cash-based transfers
  • 1,686 mt of in-kind assistance distributed
  • US$ 39.4 million six months net funding requirements (April - September 2022)

Operational Updates

  • In March, WFP provided cash and food assistance to 182,152 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 68,419 refugees, and 8,118 people from vulnerable communities through resilience building initiatives. Through the School Feeding Programme, WFP supported 451,803 children.
  • WFP's resilience-building initiatives continue to provide smallholder farmers with the support they need in order to improve their production and increase crop yields. In Ninewa governorate, WFP provided greenhouses, beehives, cattle and seeds to 325 farmers who utilize the knowledge and expertise shared by WFP to provide a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families.
  • WFP collaborated with the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources to organize the second Annual Baghdad International Water Conference, to help highlight and provide solutions to the issues of climate change and water scarcity facing Iraq's people and agriculture. WFP presented its latest data and findings on the issue to support the government of Iraq with its Green Paper to address these serious challenges.
  • In its continued efforts to support Iraq's youth, and confront climate change, WFP provided a new solar power system for the Career Development Centre at the University of Sulaymaniyah. The solar energy provided now effectively meets the electricity gap during power cuts or shortages, enabling seamless support to youth in need as they take part in the EMPACT (Empowerment in Action) project. Participation in this project supports students with relevant training in English, digital skills and entrepreneurship that enables them to find work opportunities, start small businesses and provide an income.
  • In collaboration with the University of Sulaymaniyah and German creative design platform JOVOTO, WFP celebrated the three young EMPACT graduates Aisha, Mohammed and Kawther, whose designs revolving around the EMPACT project won the first, second and third prizes respectively, in the first design innovation joint competition.
  • For International Women's Day on 8 March, Urban Livelihoods participant and trainer Nada was invited by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Baghdad to visit from Basra, to participate in a special event to speak about her journey and experience. The impact of WFP's Urban Livelihoods programme, implemented across southern Iraq and Ninewa, is apparent through star participants such as Nada. She attended the programme, then taught photography skills that she acquired from her training, quickly became a social entrepreneur, leader of a prolific youth creative group, and role model for her contemporaries in Basra.
  • Under the School Feeding Programme funded and coimplemented by the Government of Iraq, WFP organized several workshops and training sessions to further develop the capacity of the Ministry of Education, to be able to successfully implement the programme independently in the future, while WFP continues providing technical and logistics support and expertise. These included three Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions, three capacity building workshops and a Food Quality Control workshop that was delivered in cooperation with WFP's Regional Bureau.
  • As part of the joint Social Protection Programme with the government and UN partners, WFP held three consultation workshops for more than 80 Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government staff members and key Ministerial participants. The workshops produced a roadmap for establishing a Single Registry based on multi-stakeholder discussions. The workshops also initiated dialogue on the improvement of Iraq's social protection schemes with special focus on the public distribution system for food rations (PDS). In addition to multiple Ministry representatives, the workshops were attended by UNICEF, ILO, World Bank, GIZ and UNHCR.
  • Representatives of Canada and Germany visited Sharya IDP camp in Duhok and met with a number of displaced families to discuss their situation, reasons that prohibit their return to their homes, and ongoing needs.
  • In light of the rise in food prices as a result of the RussianUkrainian conflict, WFP temporarily increased its cash transfer value to vulnerable IDPs living in Jadaa-5 camp to mitigate the effects and ensure that families are not affected.

The full report can be downloaded here.

(Source: ReliefWeb)

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KRG to continue Oil Negotiations with Baghdad

By John Lee.

The KRG's Council of Ministers held its weekly meeting on Wednesday, led by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

Referring to the recent round of discussions to resolve the dispute over oil sales between Erbil and Baghdad, the Council stressed the importance of continuing to defend the Kurdistan Region's constitutional rights within Iraq.

It added that negotiations with Baghdad will continue until a mutually acceptable agreement is reached concerning the Region's oil and gas industry.

With no final agreement having yet been reached, the Council added that, while they regard the situation as a violation of the Iraqi oil and gas law, contractual obligations to oil companies currently engaged in the Region will be fulfilled regardless.

(Source: KRG)

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What does Russia’s War in Ukraine mean for Iraq?

By Samuel Ramani, for The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

What does Russia's war in Ukraine mean for Iraq?

Although Iraq has avoided taking sides in Russia's war with Ukraine, the conflict could exacerbate factional divisions and profoundly impact the Iraqi economy's near-term trajectory.

While the strides made in Russia-Iraq cooperation over the past decade are unlikely to be destroyed by the war, Baghdad is likely to limit its cooperation with Moscow to essential spheres and overcome the impact of sanctions by embracing a genuinely multipolar foreign policy.

Click here to read the full article.

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IBBC Iraq Conference, London, Tuesday 24th May 

The IBBC Iraq conference at the Mansion House - meeting at a most important time for Iraq - Tuesday 24 May 

After a two-year absence, IBBC is back at the Mansion House hosting its Iraq conference on Tuesday May 24th focusing on finance, energy and sustaining economic growth in Iraq.

The country stands at another pivotal moment with a new government still in formation, record high oil and gas prices and a world supply crisis, in recovery mode after the pandemic and a strong desire to diversify the economy, grow the private sector and improve employment prospects, particularly for the young, a possible Iranian / US nuclear settlement, issues over water supply and food production, diversifying into renewable energy  and still much work to be done on repairing and renewing infrastructure, but progress being made on improving governance and hugely enhanced government revenue to provide business opportunities across all the sectors.

International interest in investing in Iraq remains strong with the Chinese (Rumaila) and French (Total) Governments being particularly aggressive and most recently a wish expressed by the Saudi Government to join them.

In each sector we are hosting influential Iraqi ministerial attendees including the Minister of Oil H.E. Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael and Mr Kareem Hatta Deputy Oil Minister for Upstream Affairs, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, H.E Mr. Mustafa Ghalib Mukheef, the Minister of Youth and Sport H.E. Adnan Darjal Motar Al-Rubaye, as well as Ms Taif Al-Shakarchi, Deputy Minister of Finance , Dr Salem Chalabi, President & Chairman of the Trade Bank of Iraq, a delegation of Iraqi Private banks.

From the UK side Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of UKEF, UK Ambassador Mark Bryson- Richardson, BP President Iraq Zaid Elyaseri, and Richard Wilkins from JP Morgan will address the audience with latest developments and opportunities and Professor Frank Gunter will present his latest views on the political economy.

Principal panel subjects include developing the banking sector, project finance, energy transition and how to boost short term production, education and skills, insurance, in addition to an online Tech panel addressing the benefits of crypto currency.

For companies interested in Iraq, this is a prime opportunity to hear what some of the most important players, both government and private sector are saying and thinking, and an excellent place for networking with potential partners and customers from both national and international organisations.

For further information and to register - please follow the link below:

IBBC Spring Conference at the Mansion House, London - IBBC (iraqbritainbusiness.org)

A reminder to overseas attendees, to arrange for visas to UK within the next few days as is relevant for your country.

(Source: Iraq Britain Business Council)

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KRG “Remains Committed” to Oil and Gas Contracts

By John Lee.

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has assured the region's partners in the oil and gas sector that the KRG "remains committed" to the contracts that have been signed with energy companies.

Masrour Barzani told the Global Energy Forum 2022 that the contracts are "in line with our oil and gas law and the Iraqi Constitution and they are a bedrock of our shared future".

He added:

"The sanctity of the contracts are just as important to my government as they are to you ...

"Investors in Kurdistan have the right to receive regular payments. Ensuring this happens is a core focus of my cabinet, which will clearly help secure future investment. We value the investment and partnership of all the energy companies who are in Kurdistan - I know you have maintained commitment through the challenges ...

"We in Kurdistan have long sought mechanisms for the federal distribution of oil and gas revenues across all of Iraq. That's what the Constitution calls for, and the only practical way forward for both Baghdad and us."

His comments follow the recent Federal Supreme Court ruling that sales of oil and gas law by the KRG, independently of the central government in Baghdad, are unconstitutional.

Barzani described the ruling as "unconstitutional and blatantly political."

(Source: KRG)

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Iraq Improves Ranking in World Happiness Report

By John Lee.

Iraq has ranked 107th out of 146 countries in the latest World Happiness Report, a small improvement on its ranking of 111th last year.

The report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), uses global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives around the world.

Co-author Lara Aknin said:

"Data considered in the World Happiness Report offers a snapshot of how people around the world evaluate their own happiness and some of the latest insights from the science of well-being.

"This information is incredibly powerful for understanding the human condition and how to help people, communities, and countries work toward happier lives."

Top of the list of happiest countries were:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands

... while at the bottom were:

  1. Botswana
  2. Rwanda
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Lebanon
  5. Afghanistan

Iran ranked 110th, with Turkey 112th.

The full report can be downloaded here.

(Source: World Happiness Report)

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