From the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC):
Baroness Nicholson and Christophe Michels led a 30-strong delegation of IBBC Members to Riyadh to meet with Members of the Saudi Iraqi Business Council.
The high profile meeting of Members of both Councils met under the auspices of the Saudi Minister of Commerce at the head quarters of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce.
Mr Mohammed Al Khorayef, Chairman of SIBC presided over a 3 hour seminar at which 10 different IBBC member companies presented and discussed challenges and opportunities in doing business in Iraq. Mr AlKhorayef and Baroness Nicholson gave opening addresses on behalf of their respective organisations and attendees also heard short presentations from the Saudi Foreign Investment Authority and the Export Finance Authority.
The seminar was followed by an extensive networking Lunch.
The Saudi Minister of Commerce hosted members of both councils for dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The dinner was attended by the Governor of the Saudi Investment Authority, the Chairman of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and other senior Saudi officials.
Both sides voted this first meeting a huge success which allowed for ample business to business meetings and the exchange of valuable experiences and information. Baroness Nicholson highlighted the important role IBBC can play in a triangular relationship between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Britain. Christophe Michels emphasised the depth and knowledge of IBBC and its members, having worked in Iraq since 2009 if not longer and the willingness of IBBC Members to do business with their Saudi Companies in Iraq, but also in Saudi Arabia.
The meeting concluded with an invitation to SIBC members to attend the IBBC Spring Conference at The Mansion House in London on 24th May.
Christophe Michels stated that this was a first historic visit to Saudi Arabia for IBBC and that he was confident that IBBC and SIBC will build on it to further strong cooperation between their members in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. He added that today in Iraq business to business relationships really mattered and would lead to substantial measurable outcomes.
The IBBC delegation included, Mr Zaid Elyaseri, President of BP Iraq, Mr Sardar Al Bebany, Chairman of Sardar Group, Mr Mohammed Delaimy, CEO of SCB Iraq, Mr Ismail Maraqa, Chairman of PWC Middle East, Mr Khalil Nezir, Director of UB Holding, Mrs Sarah Akbar, MD of Oilserv, Mr Stuart Mackay, Corporate Development Director at G4S Risk Management, Mr Jaber Aljaberi, CEO of AA Global Trading Company, Ms Hadeel Hasan, Managing Partner of Al Hadeel Al Hasan LLC; Mr Khalil Al Salem, Deputy CEO of Al Majal; Mr Anmar Al-Gharifi, Partner, Saudi Arabia of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, Mr Amar Shubar, Partner of Management Partners, Mr Hamed Silmi of Martrade Shipping & Logistics, Mr Hal Miran, Founding CEO of MSELECT, Mr Yaser Al Abbadi, Head of Business at NB of Iraq, National Bank of Iraq / Capital Bank and Mr Zeid Barghouti, NBI- Head of Treasury, Invest & FI, National Bank of Iraq / Capital Bank, Mr Faisal AlTamimi, Senior Associate- Business Development, PwC, Ms Leena Zeyad, Group BOD Administration Manager of Sardar Trading Agencies, Mr Habib Bitar, CEO of TBI Saudi Arabia and Mr Hussam Chakouf, Senior Associate of Zaha Hadid Architects, and was joined by IBBCs GCC Representative Mr Vikas Handa, Mr Richard Cotton, Commercial Advisor and Professor Mohammed Al Uzri, Health and Education Advisor.
On Saturday 26th March, our hosts organised visits to Riyadh Fort, now fully refurbished to its original state, the site now designated as the place where the modern Saudi state began in 1902 and to the Saudi National Museum, which records in fabulous settings, the geology, the history of the country over centuries, and the large diversity of cultures across the country.
On the evening of Sunday 27th March, the Trade Bank of Iraq in Saudi CEO Habib Bitar kindly hosted a dinner for the IBBC delegates who were able to exchange ideas with senior bank officials and other distinguished Saudi guests.