Iraq Business News (en)

Investments in Health can contribute to Peace Dividends

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 6:43pm

In the lead-up to the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls on the international community to further invest in Iraq’s devastated health sector.

In Anbar, Ninewa, Salah Al Din, and Kirkuk, 14 hospitals and more than 170 health facilities were damaged or destroyed in the three-year conflict. Water and power systems that health facilities depend on to function also need urgent repair.

Beyond physical damage, the crisis caused unimaginable mental distress for millions of people, left tens of thousands of Iraqis with severe physical injuries, disrupted the routine vaccination of millions of children, decreased reproductive health services to girls and women of child-bearing age, halted the supply of essential medicines and medical equipment, and interrupted the medical education for hundreds of thousands of aspiring medical workers.

“More than 2.4 million Iraqis are still displaced and need direct health care, and more than 3.3 million Iraqis who have returned home have gone back to areas where the health system needs to be almost entirely rebuilt,” said Altaf Musani, WHO Representative in Iraq. “Across the country, millions of Iraqis are in the process of rebuilding their shattered lives and WHO is keen on supporting the governmental health authorities to provide them with appropriate and dignified health care services.”

WHO has worked with health partners to support the Government of Iraq in providing emergency health services and strengthening the health care system to ensure vulnerable persons have access to quality health care. In 2017, partners including various departments of health provided over 6 million medical consultations across Iraq.

This was made possible by establishing and supporting at least 29 static health clinics in displacement camps and outreach through more than 64 mobile medical clinics. Notably, life-saving emergency health services were provided to more than 24,000 people through five field hospitals close to the front-lines in Mosul, Hawija and Al-Qaim.

To protect current humanitarian gains as well as reduce vulnerabilities, further investments in health are urgently needed. Support to rebuild health systems, provision of life saving medicines and upgrading medical technologies will ensure a responsive health care system.

WHO and health partners are appealing for firm commitments to Iraq’s health care system which will enable peaceful, dignified and safe returns as well as revitalization of new accessible areas.

(Source: UNAMI)

US Ambassador, UNDP visit the Ninewa Plains

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 3:51am

Ambassador Silliman and Lise Grande of UNDP Visit the Ninewa Plains

Ambassador of the United States to Iraq Douglas Silliman joined the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNDP Resident Representative Lise Grande for a visit to several sites in the Ninewa Plains to highlight the U.S.-UN partnership in supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to help its most vulnerable people return home following the liberation of their territory from ISIS.

During his visit to the historically Christian towns of Al Hamdaniya and Karamless, home to Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic communities respectively, Ambassador Silliman reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting the UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS).

Since 2015, the United States has provided $190.3 million to the FFS, which includes a recent $75 million contribution, portions of which the United States has specifically set aside for projects in the Ninewa Plains.  The United States also pledged an additional $75 million contribution for 2018.

The U.S. government also plans to fund up to $39 million to non-governmental and private organizations to help stabilize ethnic and religious minority communities in the Ninewa Plains and western Ninewa, which will bring our total funding for stabilization activities up to $300 million.

Separately, the United States has contributed more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance since 2014 for conflict-affected Iraqis who were displaced by the ISIS threat.

“We are committed to supporting UNDP stabilization projects like these until all displaced Iraqis can return to their liberated, stabilized areas,” said Ambassador Silliman at the reopening of the Al Hamdaniya Hospital, which was looted and vandalized during the ISIS occupation before its initial rehabilitation by UNDP.  The U.S. government recently approved $2.6 million to fund UNDP’s further rehabilitation of the hospital and the purchase of necessary medical equipment.  The Ambassador added, “As I look at this facility, I see it as a symbol of hope that more peaceful and prosperous days lie ahead for the people of this community.”

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq Lise Grande said, We are very grateful for the contribution of the U.S. government.  UNDP is currently implementing more than 1,000 projects across Ninewa Governorate.  Progress is tangible; electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centers are functioning and people are getting back to work.  With continued support, we can accelerate this critical work and help bring hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis back home.”

The visit also included meetings with Syriac Catholic and Chaldean Catholic religious leaders and a tour of the Karamless primary health care center, another UNDP stabilization project that the United States will be partially funding.

The United States is committed to ensuring that its humanitarian assistance and stabilization funding is reaching Iraq’s most vulnerable communities, including the ethnic and religious minorities who suffered under ISIS occupation.  With support from the U.S. government and other international donors, the United Nations’ stabilization projects are helping displaced Iraqis from all backgrounds rebuild their homes and communities in the liberated areas.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Iraq)

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 1:00pm

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

“Severe Punishment” for Price Hikes Targeting Tourists

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 3:52am

By John Lee.

Erbil’s mayor has reportedly warned hotel and motel operators against taking advantage of the increased numbers of tourists by driving up prices and breaking contracts:

Nabaz Abdulhamid told Rudaw:

“Any hotel or motel owner that hikes up the prices and revokes the signed contracts will be punished severely.”

In the past three days, 15,000 tourists from southern and central Iraq have travelled to Erbil.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

Legal Assistance for Vulnerable Households in Mosul

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 3:51am

UN-Habitat provided legal assistance to 1,015 vulnerable households in Mosul to address their housing, land and property rights claims

UN-Habitat in collaboration with its implementing partner, the local NGO Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid, concluded the activities funded by the 2017 Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund to address housing, land and property rights (HLP) of vulnerable people in Mosul.

Under this project, UN-Habitat assessed ten neighbourhoods in East Mosul where many displaced persons from the west of the city have settled. The surveys covered 3,083 houses, reaching a total of 19,261 individuals, and aimed to identify HLP incidents and needs of vulnerable households in East Mosul.

Accordingly, 61% of the surveyed households reported that their house was partially or fully destroyed, while more than 33% had no legal occupancy/ownership documents linked to their current residence.

As such, UN-Habitat undertook an information dissemination and awareness raising campaign related to households’ HLP rights and available redress mechanisms through the distribution of leaflets, as well as awareness raising sessions with beneficiaries seeking information on HLP.

Among those, seven sessions were conducted exclusively for females to provide them with a safe and comfortable space to raise their issues and concerns. Mahdia Hamed Ismail, highlighted how she benefited from the help:

“My house was flattened in East Mosul by the war. We were sitting on the floor and we still are as we neither filed nor received any compensation. UN-Habitat’s legal partners visited my house, took my information, helped me fill in the compensation application, and filed the claim in court on my behalf. I would like to thank them for keeping us in mind, and for making the effort to support us.”

As a result of the strong commitment and work ethic of the community representatives (Mukhtars), as well as other local authorities, including the Mosul court, the project was able to provide legal assistance on lease and ownership issues to 1,015 vulnerable families, 29% of which were female-headed households.

The majority of the households who have been impacted by the previous hostilities are in need of support with filing their claims at court. HLP issues are a major challenge for returnees and households in areas previously controlled by ISIL, and can only be solved by legal representation in courts, and/or community-based land mitigation mechanisms.

The authorities in Mosul face many challenges in responding to the high number of claims related to HLP violations, which are a major driving force of conflict and social tension. The cost of not promptly addressing these issues will be too much to bear in the future.

In this regard, the housing registration directorate will be re-established and functioning in Hay Al-Zuhur on 17 February 2018, which marks a significant step in facilitating the production/restoration of occupancy, rental, or ownership documents. UN-Habitat is committed to support the efforts of the authorities and increase its HLP interventions in Mosul, and other areas in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

Abadi Reluctant to Lift Embargo on Kurdish Airports

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 2:38pm

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation in the Kurdistan Region reiterated that the Ministry has not received any formal approval from Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi to lift the ban on international flights from the airports in the region.

Asked whether Baghdad was trying to delay resolving the issue with Erbil, Omed Mohammed said that he has no knowledge why the Federal government has not lifted the ban on the airports after the region had shown commitment to all of the conditions introduced by Iraq.

According to the Kurdish official, the Kurdish Regional Government has already accepted all of the conditions made by the Federal government, but there was no sign from Baghdad’s side to end the punitive measures imposed on the region.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Six Industrial Projects Open for Investment

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:53am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included six industrial projects in its list of major strategic projects to be presented during the Kuwait International Conference for Iraq Reconstruction, to be held in Kuwait from 12th to 14th February:

A. Rehabilitation and development of white cement plants in Falluja.

  • Area: 642000m²
  • Production capacity: 290000 ton/year for the two lines. Production capacity can be increased to 350000 t/y
  • Cost for Rehabilitating and operating is $12.800.000
  • Experienced staff is available to operate the plant
  • The plant (which is the only one in Iraq that produces white cement) is not working at the present time. Cement plants in Kubaisa, Qaim, in Anbarand Badoosh, Sinjar, HamamAl Alilin Mosul are going through damage assessment by special committees (for the damages that occurred during 2014-2017).

B. Rehabilitation and development of glass plants in Ramadi

  • Multipurpose raw glass (13 type of glass), such as glass for buildings, automobile and mirrors
  • Iraq’s need for float glass is doubling annually. The current estimate of 1500 t/d covers the local market. The unique location of the plant is suitable for exporting this product to the neighboring countries as raw or final product.
  • Target production capacity: 500000 t/y to be divided into two phases according to market capacity and required types.
  • Annual production cost in full capacity to produce 700 t/d is around 94 b ID.
  • Return 16%
  • It is possible to establish a float glass plant in Karbala and Muthana provinces.

C. Rehabilitation and development of engineering plants in the Ministry of Industry and Minerals such as Al Nassir and Al SimoodCo., IbnMajid, The Heavy engineering equipment Co. (Ministry of Oil) and The Mechanical industries in Eskandariyato cover the needs of the oil & gas, electricity and heavy industries sectors for tanks, heat exchangers, valves, pipes, pumps, poles and cranes and other products the rehabilitation and development of these factories require new production lines as well as supporting infrastructure.

D. Caustic Soda project/ Chlorine/ Samawa/ which includes the production of caustic soda, chlorine, Hypochlorite and Hydrochloric Acid.

  • Area: 50 dunam
  • Production capacity: 40-50 ton/per day
  • Cost : 40 Million Dollars.

E. Sodium Carbonate project/Samawa/ produces Sodium Carbonate and Bicarbonate.

  • Area: 100 dunam
  • Production capacity: 50000 t/y
  • Cost : 50-60 Million Dollars.

F. Sodium Sulfate projects/Samawa

  • Area: 25 dunam
  • Production capacity: 10 ton/per day
  • Cost : 20 Million Dollars.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:52am

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

New Career Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 3:51am

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

ICTSI Invests additional $250m in Iraqi Port

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:54am

By John Lee.

Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has started its second phase investment in new container terminal infrastructure well underway at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) at the Port of Umm Qasr.

The company said in a statement:

ICTSI is unique in demonstrating its commitment to the Iraqi ports sector via large scale investment in new terminal infrastructure and container handling systems. On completion of the current second phase expansion scheme, ICTSI will have invested in excess of USD250 million, the lion’s share of which is for a new berth, yard construction, and state-of-the-art handling equipment.

The phase two expansion, to be completed in stages by Q3 2019, will deliver 400 meters of new quay with a draft of 14 meters, alongside a new 30-hectare yard area and a 15-hectare secure parking area.

Three post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes would likewise be installed along the quay, and seven rubber tired gantries (RTG) will provide state-of-the-art stacking and handling power in the yard area. The overall design provides for handling container vessels of up to 9,000 TEU capacity. Upon completion of the second phase, BGT will have an annual handling capacity of over one million TEUs.

The second phase development was triggered by strong demand, a reflection of the high service levels and modern facilities offered by BGT to shipping lines and cargo owners.

Underlining BGT’s ongoing commitment to maintaining high service levels, the latest round of development also includes the acquisition of a cutter suction dredger with the dual objective of ensuring strict adherence to the construction schedule and maintaining draft alongside the terminal’s new and existing births.

“We are listening to our customers and are proactively meeting their needs,” says Phillip Marsham, BGT executive officer.

“The second phase expansion will not only allow us to respond immediately to scale needs, but also deliver added flexibility to the whole container handling operation with diverse benefits flowing to our customers,” he adds.

In Q1 2017, BGT completed the first phase of its terminal greenfield project, which included the construction of a new 250-meter berth and a 15-hectare yard area.

Last year also saw BGT’s expansion of its service portfolio with the development of quay and yard areas configured for the safe and efficient handling of oil and gas project cargoes, allowing BGT to establish successful partnerships with the oil and gas industry.

Operations at Berth 21 likewise commenced in January 2018, introducing a dedicated roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) facility, where international standard operational practices remain.

“Our commitment to helping Iraq develop international standard port infrastructure continues to expand,” says Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI senior vice president and regional head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We invested for the long term in fixed infrastructure since day one. We continue to receive strong and most encouraging assistance from the General Company for Ports in Iraq and other government bodies in this respect. We are confident that we can continue to build on this productive partnership to the benefit of port users and the country as a whole,” Madsen underlined.

ICTSI’s USD250 million investment in BGT will progressively deliver world-class multipurpose cargo handling facilities and unparalleled efficiencies to the Port of Umm Qasr, including the capability to service larger, new generation box ships.

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) continues its pioneering work in Iraq’s port sector with its second phase investment in new container terminal infrastructure well underway at its Basra Gateway Terminal (BGT) at the Port of Umm Qasr.

ICTSI is unique in demonstrating its commitment to the Iraqi ports sector via large scale investment in new terminal infrastructure and container handling systems. On completion of the current second phase expansion scheme, ICTSI will have invested in excess of USD250 million, the lion’s share of which is for a new berth, yard construction, and state-of-the-art handling equipment.

The phase two expansion, to be completed in stages by Q3 2019, will deliver 400 meters of new quay with a draft of 14 meters, alongside a new 30-hectare yard area and a 15-hectare secure parking area.

Three post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes would likewise be installed along the quay, and seven rubber tired gantries (RTG) will provide state-of-the-art stacking and handling power in the yard area. The overall design provides for handling container vessels of up to 9,000 TEU capacity. Upon completion of the second phase, BGT will have an annual handling capacity of over one million TEUs.

The second phase development was triggered by strong demand, a reflection of the high service levels and modern facilities offered by BGT to shipping lines and cargo owners.

Underlining BGT’s ongoing commitment to maintaining high service levels, the latest round of development also includes the acquisition of a cutter suction dredger with the dual objective of ensuring strict adherence to the construction schedule and maintaining draft alongside the terminal’s new and existing births.

“We are listening to our customers and are proactively meeting their needs,” says Phillip Marsham, BGT executive officer.

“The second phase expansion will not only allow us to respond immediately to scale needs, but also deliver added flexibility to the whole container handling operation with diverse benefits flowing to our customers,” he adds.

In Q1 2017, BGT completed the first phase of its terminal greenfield project, which included the construction of a new 250-meter berth and a 15-hectare yard area.

Last year also saw BGT’s expansion of its service portfolio with the development of quay and yard areas configured for the safe and efficient handling of oil and gas project cargoes, allowing BGT to establish successful partnerships with the oil and gas industry.

Operations at Berth 21 likewise commenced in January 2018, introducing a dedicated roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) facility, where international standard operational practices remain.

“Our commitment to helping Iraq develop international standard port infrastructure continues to expand,” says Hans-Ole Madsen, ICTSI senior vice president and regional head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We invested for the long term in fixed infrastructure since day one. We continue to receive strong and most encouraging assistance from the General Company for Ports in Iraq and other government bodies in this respect. We are confident that we can continue to build on this productive partnership to the benefit of port users and the country as a whole,” Madsen underlined.

ICTSI’s USD250 million investment in BGT will progressively deliver world-class multipurpose cargo handling facilities and unparalleled efficiencies to the Port of Umm Qasr, including the capability to service larger, new generation box ships.

(Source: ICTSI)

Iraq signs Deal for Kirkuk Refinery

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:53am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Oil Ministry has announced that it has signed an agreement to build a 70,000-bpd oil refinery near Kirkuk.

The statement said the refinery would be built by “Rania international company“, which Reuters refers to as Ranya International, which it says is based in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The plant will produce high octane gasoline and other petroleum products.

(Source: Ministry of Oil, Reuters)

Crescent Petroleum to Increase Investment in Iraqi Gas

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:52am

By John Lee.

UAE-based Crescent Petroleum is reportedly planning a significant increase in its production of natural gas at its Pearl Petroleum operations in Iraq.

President Badr Jafar (pictured) is quoted as saying that there will be an investment of $1 billion to boost production to 500 million cubic feet of gas per day by 2020, up from about 330 million cubic feet  and about 20,000 barrels per day of condensates at present.

According to Reuters, Pearl is owned 35 percent by Crescent Petroleum, 35 percent by Crescent’s affiliate Dana Gas, 10 percent by Austria’s OMV, 10 percent by Germany’s RWE, and 10 percent by Hungary’s MOL.

(Sources: Gulf News, Reuters)

Sweden helps Stabilize Newly Liberated Areas in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 3:51am

Sweden increases its support to stabilize newly liberated areas in Iraq

The Government of Sweden has contributed an additional US$ 12 million (SEK 100 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances initiatives for rapid stabilization of areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings Sweden’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 26 million (SEK 212.1 million).

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

Enormous progress is being made in the areas that have been newly liberated. It’s wonderful to see people choosing to go home and start rebuilding their lives and communities. At this stage in Iraq, nothing is more important.

“The scale of destruction and damage cannot be underestimated, however, particularly in Mosul, and this is why this generous contribution from Sweden comes at exactly the right time.”

H.E. Pontus Melander, the Ambassador of Sweden to Iraq, said:

Sweden is firmly committed to supporting the Government of Iraq’s efforts of providing essential services that benefit all Iraqis in the newly liberated areas.

“UNDPs Funding Facility for Stabilization is indeed a crucial component to ensure the military effort against ISIL. It is our sincere hope that stabilization will lay the foundation for a more peaceful and inclusive society. Beyond and in addition to stabilization, Iraq will remain a prioritised country for Swedish Development Cooperation.”

At the request of the Government of Iraq, UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization in June 2015 to facilitate the return of displaced Iraqis, lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery, and safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism.

The Facility currently has more than 1,600 projects underway in 23 liberated cities and districts, helping local authorities to quickly rehabilitate essential infrastructure. More than 95 percent of all stabilization projects are done by the local private sector employing local labour.

(Source: UNDP)

DNO: Revenues and Investment Rise Sharply

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 2:03pm

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced a 50 percent hike in 2018 spending in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to USD 250 million net to the Company on the back of higher revenues and regular export payments.

Annual 2017 revenues stood at USD 347 million, up 72 percent from 2016, bolstered by fourth quarter revenues of USD 116 million, the highest quarterly level in more than three years.

The Company fast tracked the development of the Peshkabir field with two wells currently producing a total of 16,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and commingled for export with another 97,000 bopd from the other DNO-operated field, Tawke, on the same license.

DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani:

“We made the Peshkabir Cretaceous discovery early in 2017, initiated early production in June, tripled output by year’s end and already have exported two million barrels with an estimated value of USD 100 million – more than twice the investment to date. And we have only started to appraise and develop this field which continues to surprise to the upside.”

A total of six Peshkabir wells will be drilled this year with field production expected to reach 30,000 bopd by summer and continue to ramp up in the second half of the year.

At the Tawke field, plans are being finalized with partner Genel Energy plc to drill four wells in 2018, in addition to the currently drilling Tawke-48 well slated for completion by end-February.

Elsewhere in Kurdistan, DNO has re-entered and sidetracked the Hawler-1 well to appraise the Benenan heavy oil field in the Erbil license, achieving a technical milestone with the first ever multilateral well and the first ever dual completion in Kurdistan. Testing will commence shortly, and if successful, will be followed by additional wells.

The Company received 12 monthly Kurdistan export payments during 2017 totaling USD 380 million net to DNO. The landmark August 2017 receivables settlement agreement, which increased DNO’s stake in the Tawke and Peshkabir fields from 55 percent to 75 percent plus three percent of gross license revenues over five years, contributed to higher export payments.

Operational cash flow more than tripled to USD 339 million in 2017 and DNO exited the year with a net cash position of USD 30 million versus net debt of USD 139 million at end-2016.

(Source: DNO)

Zain returns to Profitability in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:23am

By John Lee.

Zain Iraq has reported a net profit of $29 million for 2017, up from a loss of $5 million the previous year.

In a statement, the company said:

Despite the challenging yet improving socio-economic circumstances facing the operation, Zain Iraq performed exceptionally well when compared to the previous year.

“Revenues grew consecutively on a quarter-on-quarter basis, with full-year revenues reaching USD 1.1 billion, a 2% increase Y-o-Y and EBITDA reached USD 382 million, down 3%.

“The operation reported a net profit of USD 29 million, up 657% Y-o-Y compared to a loss of USD 5 million in the previous year, with EBITDA margin standing at 35%. The expansion of 3.9G services across the country and restoration of sites in the West and North, combined with numerous customer acquisition and retention initiatives, especially in core regions, resulted in impressive addition of two million customers (16% increase) to reach 14.7 million.

“Also contributing to the operation’s financial revival was the significant growth of data revenues, strong growth in the corporate segment, increase in voice revenues through the launch of numerous segmented offers, and the improvement of customer experience and customer services.

“The strength of the Zeyara holy season was also a factor as Zain Iraq heavily promoted connections and exclusive deals with roaming its partners. Cost optimization was also a key focus in major items such as repair and maintenance.

(Source: Zain)

Saudis see Opportunities in Helping to Rebuild Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:22am

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

The reconstruction of Iraq’s liberated Sunni areas will open new horizons for the country, as 400 companies worldwide are engaged in the Reconstruction Fund for Areas Affected by Terroristic Operations to restore life to areas freed of the Islamic State (IS). Iraq will need $100 billion from other countries for the project, according to Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili.

Chief among those countries is Saudi Arabia, which will take this opportunity to stem what it sees as the rising tide of Iranian influence in Mesopotamia. Iraq looks to Saudi Arabia as one of the big players in this process and wants it to play a large role.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sent a letter Jan. 18 to Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud asking for support. On the same day, Salman stressed Saudi Arabia’s willingness to help Iraq. He said Iraq is Saudi Arabia’s “brotherly” country — one that holds deep strategic importance for Saudi Arabia.

In another sign of Iraq’s outreach to Saudi Arabia, Iraqi parliament Speaker Salim alJabouri met Jan. 18 in Baghdad with Saudi Ambassador Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, who confirmed his country’s support for Iraq in this issue.

Saudi Arabia wants to strengthen its relationship with Iraq’s Sunnis but doesn’t want to distance itself from Iraq’s Shiites. Riyadh is working to return Iraq to a higher standing in the Arab world and reduce Tehran’s influence, which became entrenched after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.

Salman al-Ansari, head of the US-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Al-Monitor, “The size of Saudi Arabia’s participation in the reconstruction of the liberated areas is not bound by any financial ceiling. This will be proved during the Saudi participation in the conference of donor countries, which will be held in Kuwait between Feb. 14 and 16.”

Iraq expects 70 countries to take part in the donor conference, and Abadi has paved the way for the meeting by calling state leaders and explaining to them how much the reconstruction will cost.

Iraqi Planning Ministry spokesman Abdul-Zahra al-Hindawi told Al-Monitor the king has confirmed he will attend the conference but hasn’t disclosed how much Saudi Arabia plans to invest.

“Iraq is relying heavily on the role of Saudi Arabia in the reconstruction process because of Saudi Arabia’s economic and political clout in the region,” Hindawi said.

The political blocs of the liberated areas are on good terms with Saudi Arabia, which allows Riyadh to hit two birds with one stone: It can prove its good faith toward Iraq as a country and build the community base in those areas for pro-Saudi parties.

The two countries’ political relationship has seen progress in the past three years, and the Saudi support in restoring life to the liberated areas is expected to crown this rapprochement.

Oil Minister meets with the CEO of Lukoil

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:22am

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has met with Kati Al-Juboori, the CEO of Russia’s Lukoil, and his entourage.

During the meeting the two parties discussed ways to develop the oil sector in Iraq.

Mr. Al-Juboori praised the keenness of the Ministry of Oil to cooperate with global companies and provide the appropriate work environment to execute the plans of the associated administrations of the oil fields.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Investment Policy Statement of the Iraq National Investment Commission

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:22am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has issued a new Investment Policy Statement.

The full document can be downloaded here:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

(Source: NIC)

UNICEF needs $17m to Rebuild Health Facilities for Children

Iraq Business News (en) - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:22am

Warning about the “alarming” state of Iraq’s healthcare system, especially in war-ravaged areas in and around Mosul, the United Nations children’s agency has stepped up its support to help the Government provide critical medical services so that children and families affected by violence and displacement can resume their lives.

With less than 10 per cent of health facilities in Iraq’s Ninewah governorate functioning at full capacity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that as many as 750,000 children in the governorate are struggling to access basic health services although violence has subsided. Those facilities that are operational are stretched to the breaking point.

“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to the largest hospital in Mosul.

“For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” he said, warning that medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.

Three years of intense violence have devastated health facilities in Iraq. Over 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since the escalation of violence in 2014, severely disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.

In Mosul, UNICEF has rehabilitated the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospital centres, provided refrigerators to store vaccines for up to 250,000 children, and supported vaccination campaigns to immunize all children under five years old. Most health centres in the governorate have also re-started vaccination services for children.

UNICEF says the Reconstruction Conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait next week is a unique opportunity for the Iraqi Government and the international community to put children at the heart of reconstruction, including through increased budget allocations to services for children.

Mr. Hawkins said what he saw in the hospitals in Mosul was both “heartbreaking and inspiring,” explaining that the ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances is remarkable.

“They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” he said.

UNICEF is appealing for $17 million to support rebuilding health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

New Iraqi Housing Schemes open for Investment

Iraq Business News (en) - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 4:01am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included three major new housing programs in its list of major strategic projects to be presented during the Kuwait International Conference for Iraq Reconstruction, to be held in Kuwait from 12th to 14th February:

A. First phase / building 25,000 housing units in each province for low / medium income citizens in addition to low cost housing for limited income people including the infrastructure (water, electricity, sewage ,gas and telecommunication).
An economic design was selected for the Investment Housing Project in Maysan Province 2017 to build 4000 housing units in Umara City.

B. The New Karbala City Project
Area/(15) Million m2, it includes (136) various investment opportunities. Establishing an integrated city in terms of services (vertical and horizontal housing units, hotels, shopping center, educational sector recreational sport banks Islamic science office conference hall).
Karbala Downtown Development (area:750 dunam) near the holy shrines, could be developed into housing complex, multi-storey garage, commercial center and tourists areas.

C. Dhifaf Karbala Project:
Estimated cost: $6bn
40 thousand housing units as phase one aiming at 85 thousand in addition to commercial centers, recreational centers and social services.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

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