Iraq Business News (en)

UK Confirms Support for Iraq

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

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi received a phone call from British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday evening, during which they discussed strengthening collaboration between their two countries, and Iraq’s Rebuilding Conference which is to be held soon in Kuwait.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Johnson confirmed the UK’s support for Iraq in the fields of investment, private sector development, and the involvement of British investment companies in Iraq.

Mr. Johnson renewed British Prime Minister Teresa May’s invitation for the Prime Minister to visit United Kingdom.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Video: Book Culture Returns to Mosul

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

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

Literary cafes, poetry readings and pavement bookstalls — Mosul’s cultural scene is back in business, months after Iraqi forces ousted the Islamic State group from the city following three years of jihadist rule.

View on YouTube

IFJ warns about Media Freedom Violations in Kurdistan

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

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has denounced the multiple media freedom violations in the Iraqi Kurdistan region documented in a new report by IFJ affiliate the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate.

The 2017 annual report of media freedom violations, published by the KJS’ Committee for the Defense of Press Freedom & Rights of Journalists, reveals that as the intensity of the rivalry between political parties increases, incidence of violations against journalists and media organisations also increase as they face revenge by the belligerents.

Several media have been blocked during and after the referendum in the Kurdistan region to secede from Iraq and especially during the follow up military campaign by the Iraqi central government to regain control over Karkuk and other areas controlled by Kurdish forces.

Turkey and Iran also closed down offices of media organizations seen as promoting the vote for independence while the Kurdistan regional government closed down (a) TV channel(s) which took an anti-independence editorial line.

Four journalists were killed in the region in 2017, 30 journalists were arrested, 5 were wounded, 39 suffered from physical attacks, 111 were restrained and 18 were threatened. In addition, 3 media houses were burned down and 13 channels were shut down.

“The IFJ condemns all the attacks documented by our affiliate against our colleagues in the region and urges the various parties to stop using the media in their political fights,” said IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger. “Both the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi central government must take immediate steps to show that they are serious about fighting impunity in the attacks against journalists in Iraq.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

(Source: IFJ)

Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team established in Iraq

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

U.S. Air Forces Central Command, in coordination with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, stood up a Coalition Aviation Advisory and Training Team in Iraq Feb. 1.

This standup will help to develop an Iraqi aviation enterprise capable of safeguarding the country from ISIS and its affiliates.

The CAATT, in partnership with the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, will enhance the aviation capabilities of the ISF and train, advise and assist the Iraqi Army Aviation Command, Iraqi Air Defense Command and the Iraqi Air Force.

“This Coalition team of airmen will build upon our Iraqi partner’s combat-proven capabilities to ensure a capable, affordable, professional, and sustainable Iraqi Aviation Enterprise,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander. “Together with our Iraqi Security Forces partners, we will ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS in Iraq.”

The standup of this unit does not indicate an increase in the overall number of troops deployed to Iraq. The CAATT is comprised of U.S. and Coalition airmen from multiple specialties and is specifically designed to leverage existing resources and Coalition partner capabilities.

Following the country’s liberation from ISIS’ physical presence, the Coalition is transitioning to a more training-focused and building-partner-capacity role – decreasing overall Coalition air support as the Iraqi Air Force assumes air missions, duties and responsibilities necessary to ensure a lasting defeat of ISIS.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Jordan approves deal with Iraq on Oil, Gas Pipeline

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:32am

By John Lee.

Jordan has reportedly approved an agreement with Iraq to build a twin gas and oil pipeline between the two countries.

The 1,680-km double pipeline will pump one million barrels of oil a day, and 258 million cubic feet of gas, from Basra to Aqaba.

About 150,000 barrels of the oil from Iraq is needed to meet Jordan’s needs. The rest will be exported through Aqaba, generating about three billion U.S. dollars a year in revenues to Jordan, according to the ministry.

An agreement will be signed soon by the Energy Ministries of both countries.

(Source: Xinhua)

Denmark Contributes $21.4m for Stabilization in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:32am

Denmark has contributed an additional US$ 21.4 million (DKK 135 million) to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), which finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

This brings Denmark’s total contribution since 2015 to US$ 38.1 million (DKK 246 million).

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

“It is truly impressive to see the progress that is being made in newly liberated areas. More than half of all of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned. Accelerating stabilization so the 2.6 million people who are still displaced can go home and rebuild their lives is one of Iraq’s highest priorities.”

The Danish Ambassador to Iraq, H.E. Gert Meinecke, said:

Denmark congratulates the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Security Forces on the continued success in liberating Iraq from ISIL, with support from the International Coalition. Rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and reestablishing public services remain critical to enable the return of people displaced by the conflict.

“This additional contribution to the Funding Facility for Stabilization, together with our funding for mine action and our support to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, demonstrates Denmark’s continued commitment to support stability in Iraq.

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 resurgence of violence and 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)

Coalition Announces Shift in Focus as Iraq Campaign Progresses

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:32am

Enabled by accelerated successes following the liberation of Mosul, the coalition will shift its focus in Iraq from enabling combat operations to sustaining military gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials announced today.

“The coalition will tailor our forces in consultation with our Iraqi partners in order to ensure the lasting defeat of [ISIS],” said CJTF-OIR director of operations, Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga.

As a result of the successful operations by the coalition and its partners, ISIS has lost about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. However, coalition commanders have noted ISIS is likely to transition back into an insurgency. ISIS still retains the ability to carry out lethal attacks and poses a potent threat to civilians and to the stability of the region.

“We’re clear the enemy is still capable of offensive action and retains the ability to plan and inspire attacks worldwide,” Braga said. “Although OIR’s force composition may change over time to ensure we have the best forces on hand for the task, we will retain an appropriate amount of capabilities as well as an advisory presence to continue training, advising and equipping our partners in the continued fight against [ISIS], all with the approval of the government of Iraq.

“Our enduring presence as invited guests in Iraq will shift to focus more on policing, border control and military capacity building. We will sustain the successful momentum and enhance the capacities of the Iraqi security forces in pursuing [ISIS], now and in the future,” Braga said.

Preventing ISIS’ Return

To prevent the conditions under which ISIS can re-emerge, coalition-partnered military operations will enable diplomatic and economic efforts by the international community that will capitalize on the military gains of the past year. “Military success has bought time, space and security for non-military stabilization efforts to help the people of Iraq, and we look to facilitate the return of normalcy for Iraqis,” Braga said.

Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq.

“We will redouble our efforts to develop the Iraqi security forces, ensuring they have the necessary capability and expertise to meet current and future security threats,” said British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, OIR’s deputy commander for strategy and support. “We remain committed to working with our Iraqi partners.”

Although the coalition will not provide specifics on individual nations’ plans and contributions, it asserts 2018 will be a critical year in adjusting coalition forces as it consolidates gains against [ISIS] and brings hope for a better future to the Iraqi people.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Corruption Probes: Iraq takes Custody of Officials

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:32am

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

Iraq is boosting its efforts to extradite fugitives wanted in corruption cases.

On Jan. 25, Iraqi authorities in cooperation with Interpol took custody of former Trade Minister Abdel Falah al-Sudani, who had been extradited from Lebanon. Sudani, a fugitive since 2009, had been tried and sentenced in absentia to seven years in prison for corruption.

Ziad al-Qattan, the former general secretary in the Ministry of Defense, was extradited from Jordan and handed over to Iraqi authorities Jan. 11.​ Qattan is accused of embezzling about $1 billion from the ministry.

“Such steps toward trying accused [politicians] in a country that is at the top of the list of the most corrupt countries, such as Iraq, are of paramount importance to regain the people’s confidence in the Iraqi judiciary and its ability to tackle corruption,” legal expert Ali Jaber told Al-Monitor.

“The extradition of wanted people is twofold. The procedure goes through the bilateral agreement between Iraq and other countries and through the international police [Interpol],” he said.

The UN Charter allows countries fighting terrorist groups to ask for assistance from the Security Council, which is the case with Iraq. These countries can also claim funds that had been smuggled abroad.

“Many countries have been helping Iraq to recover funds and take fugitives into custody,” Jaber said. “I believe that Iraq will witness many breakthroughs in the future at this level, especially since the Iraqi government said tackling corruption will be its top priority after the end of the war on the Islamic State.”

In early January, a representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency met in Iraq with Integrity Commission Chairman Hassan al-Yasiri to discuss, among other topics, coordinating anti-corruption efforts.

The Integrity Commission said Iraq, with Interpol’s help, recovered about 2 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.68 million) in December from nine convicted fugitives by tracking their money and conducting investigations to follow financial transactions globally.

Many officials accused of corruption remain free, however. Some have dual nationality, which makes it easier for them to leave. For example, Basra Gov. Majid al-Nasrawi used his Australian passport to flee Iraq in August. He faces charges of stealing public money.

There are also warrants out for the arrests of fugitive officials wanted on corruption charges, including former Minister of Electricity Ayham al-Samarrai, former Transport Minister Louay al-Ors and former Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan, who was accused in 2005 of being involved in the theft of at least $1.3 billion from the ministry.

Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad, explained extradition procedures to Al-Monitor. “The Supreme Judicial Council issues warrants for the recovery of smuggled funds. The Extradition Division in the public prosecutor’s office follows up on the matter. The prosecutor then issues the necessary decisions,” which could entail property confiscation.

Legal expert Tariq Harb told Al-Monitor, “The current process in Iraq is that the authorities hand over the official documents of charges of the accused to Interpol. In the event Interpol catches the accused, the Iraqi security authorities will take them into custody to stand a fair trial.”

Iraq’s increased efforts to recover assets from abroad will help speed up the often lengthy process of extradition. However, “this doesn’t mean this road won’t be fraught with many obstacles, as many of the accused are linked to powerful politicians who could pull some strings to derail or end the procedures.” Some countries might also use prisoners as bargaining chips, he said.

Ahmad al-Jubouri, a member of the parliamentary Legal Committee, told Al-Monitor, “The process to recover funds and arrest [those accused] is of major importance, as the Iraqi people have been demanding reforms and the fight against corruption. Under this pressure, the Iraqi government has started to take serious steps” and has even hired foreign companies to help track funds and facilitate extradition. “The upcoming period will witness major changes in corruption investigations,” he said.

He added, “The arrest of Sudani and Qattan will open the door to further arrests of the people who misused and smuggled public funds to neighboring countries. Some of the accused are traders and businessmen who made illicit deals in the name of influential politicians or political parties. Iraq is known for the rampant corruption among politicians. The arrests will include all those who took part in or facilitated embezzlement of public funds. This will be a crucial step in recovering these funds.”

Conserving Iran and Iraq’s Wetlands

Iraq Business News (en) - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 4:31am

There’s growing awareness in the Islamic Republic of Iran that wetlands are valuable and sustain livelihoods.

Ramsar, “the gem of northern Iran”, is the town that gives its name to the Ramsar Convention.

The Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It came into force more than 40 years ago.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has 24 sites designated as wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) out of 2,290 worldwide. Of Iran’s 24 sites about one third are under pressure or in a critical condition.

Wetlands are vital for biodiversity. Large populations of migratory birds winter there or use them on their way to and from wintering areas in Africa or the Indian sub-continent.

The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been struggling to prevent its lakes and wetlands from drying up owing to extensive extraction of water by farmers for irrigation, growing extraction for non-agricultural uses, and climate change.

A telltale signal of vanishing wetlands is the increased frequency  and intensity of dust storms in Iran and across the region. The adverse situation has been compounded by 14 years of drought, according to Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Sand and dust storms, the advance guard of desertification, have been identified as one of the “emerging issues of environmental concern” in UN Environment’s latest Frontiers Report.

“The anthropogenic causes of sand and dust storms include deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices as well as excessive water extraction and the modification of water bodies for irrigation and other purposes,” says the report.

In the long term, only sustainable land and water management, integrated with measures addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, can improve the situation.

Iran is trying to deal with the problem. Its National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan, Target 18, states: “By 2030, conservation and wise use of wetlands are strengthened and the situation for at least 50 per cent of degraded wetlands is improved.”

Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia, a Ramsar site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is a vast hypersaline lake with many islands, surrounded by extensive brackish marshes, in northeastern Iran. The lake is fed by rainfall, springs and streams and subject to seasonal variation in level and salinity. The brackish marshes are an important staging area for migratory waterbirds.

Around 6.4 million people and 200 species of birds live in the Urmia basin.

The lake ecosystem supports biodiversity and provides recreation and mental health benefits, as well as water for agriculture and industry. If the lake were to dry up completely, dust storms and disaster could result.

A study between 2002-2011 in the eastern sub-basin of Lake Urmia showed that agricultural activities, the expansion of farmland, and population increases over the last three decades led to the over-exploitation of resources, causing land degradation. The lake has been in decline since 1995. By August 2011, its surface area was only 2,366 km2, according to UN Environment. It further declined to 700km2 in 2013. NASA satellite data indicate that the lake lost about 70 percent of its surface area between 2002 and 2016.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is working with development partners and local communities to improve the situation. Engineering works have helped unblock and un-silt the feeder rivers, and there has been a deliberate release of water from dams in the surrounding hills. In September 2016 the Government of Iran and the Food and Agriculture Organization launched a four-year sustainable management project for the lake.

Recent indications are that the lake is recovering. The lake surface area is now 2,300 km2 (UN Development Programme, 2017). UN Environment’s November 2017 Foresight brief focuses on the extent of this recovery and measures being put in place to ensure this is sustained.

Hawizeh Marsh

In neighbouring Iraq, the Hawizeh Marsh, which extends across the border into Iran where it is known as Haur Al-Azim, was designated as the country’s first Ramsar site in 2007. Around 20-25 per cent of this wetland is in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Part of the Mesopotamian marshland complex fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the whole region is suffering from the construction of upstream water control structures,  increasing water extraction for agriculture as well as reduced rainfall.. As a result, the Hawizeh marsh was placed on Ramsar’s register of threatened wetlands requiring priority attention.

In mid-2017, the Government of Iraq requested the Ramsar Secretariat to organize an advisory mission to the marshes to identify ways for future cooperation between Iraq and Iran as a first step towards the long-term conservation and sustainable development of the marshes, including ways to reduce the incidence of sand and dust storms.

The mission, which took place from 16 to 23 December 2017, involved  officials from  Iraq and Iran participating in workshops and conducting site visits on both sides of the border to better understand the situation. In cooperation with the Ramsar Secretariat, UN Environment is helping support the dialogue process which also includes consultations with local communities and participation of UN agencies.

Areas of agreed future cooperation include carrying out waterbird surveys,   creating a platform for exchanges of technical and scientific information on the ecology of the marshes, and joint celebration events on wetlands and water.

In a quick and positive step forward, a team of Iraqi bird experts joined Iranian surveyors in conducting a midwinter waterfowl count on the Iranian side of the marshes from 23-26 January 2018. Similarly, Iranian experts plan to collaborate in the waterfowl census in Iraq in early February 2018.

“Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future” is the theme for World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2018.

(Source: UN Environment)

Four Special Economic Zones open for Investment

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:59pm

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included four Special Economic Zones 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:

  1. Huteen zone/ Babylon Province for medium & heavy engineering manufacturing.
    Huteen is located in Babylon Province/ Eskandariya city near the State Co. for Mechanical Industries and the State Co. for Automobiles.
    40 km to the north of Hilla city center, 50 km to Baghdad city center.
    550 km to Basra city and its ports
    10 km east to the Euphrates
    12 km to the north of Al Musaiab thermo electricity station
    Total area is 15000000 m², around 6000 donum in addition to branch streets within the site.
    Sewage, water pipes, electricity and facilities are available with limited damages.
    45 big area warehouses protected with earth embankment for highly immunized products.
  2. Mid Euphrates zone in Dewaniya, 1500 donum for agricultural industries (agro-industry) including dairy products, fruits, vegetables and meat processing and canning.
  3. Fine Machining zone in Nineveh (Al Kindi Co., site or Jabir Bin Hayan Co. site). One of the sites to be selected to produce machinery and equipment for medium and small projects such as valves and pumps.
  4. Baghdad zone (near BIAP) for advance technologies (Smart city).
    The smart city shall provide various activities for interested people in information technology, entertainment and social technologies. It also includes a training center, weekly gathering of professionals and specialists, meetings and scientific debates halls, computer courses for children, restaurant and coffee shop, markets for electronic devices, internet services center, a training center to develop human skills, a museum for communication devices and post stamps representing Iraq’s history, halls for investing companies, halls for simulating modern training technologies, a hotel for the visitors and many other services.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

Iraqi Stock Market Jumps 11%

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:58pm

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 1st Feb 2018).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD876 (+10.8%) / $912 (+11.0%) (weekly change) (+8.0% and +9.1% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 5.8bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD4.6bn ($3.7mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • In accordance with the duties of the Central Bank of Iraq provided in its law, and in order to ensure the stability of the banking sector and increase confidence in it, “the contract of establishment of the bank deposit guarantee company was signed with the founding body”, which included government and private banks, (6 government banks, 22 commercial banks and 16 foreign banks, 44 banks in total). It is expected that this company will play a major role in protecting the banking sector, especially the deposits of the public (individuals and companies), which will enhance confidence in the banking sector inside Iraq and in the correspondents of banks outside Iraq, which will contribute to attracting more deposits and reuse them in credit and investment to serve the Iraq economy. The capital of the company is IQD100 bn, of which 30% is owned by the private banks, 25% is owned by the government and remaining 45% will be offered for public subscription. (CBI)
  • The Director of the Information Office of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Acer Jabbar said that the CBI is keen to diversify its foreign reserves and diversify the basket of currencies in the investment portfolios as well as the geographical distribution of investments of the bank. According to that, the CBI signed an agreement with People’s Bank China which will contribute to the development of banking relations with global economies, especially with the Chinese economy. (CBI)
  • According to the CBI letter (dated back on Jan. 24, 2018) sent to all licensed banks and money transfer companies regarding letters of guarantee (LG), CBI BoD decided that the money transfer companies will decide on one of the following options for providing LG to the CBI without violating their license: 1) Providing the CBI an LG of 50% of their capital issued by one of CBI’s licensed banks. 2) Depositing IQD100 mn in the margin accounts of the CBI by depositing it in one of CBI’s licensed banks instead of providing an LG as mentioned in the first article. (CBI)
  • AL- Kindi of Veterinary Vaccines Drugs (IKLV) will hold AGM* on Feb. 18, 2018 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. ISX will suspend trading of IKLV starting Feb. 13, 2018.
  • North Bank (BNOR) will resume trading on Feb. 4, 2018 after fulfilling ISC disclosure requirement and publishing 2016 annual financial results. The opening price will be IQD0.20 with +/-50% change for the first trading session.
  • Sumer Commercial Bank (BSUC) will resume trading on Feb. 4, 2018 after discussing and approving 2016 annual financial results.
  • The ISC approved on Jan. 23, 2018 trading of Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) in the regular market instead of the non-regular market starting Jan. 28, 2018.

$210m Project to Improve Baghdad Water

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:58pm

Iraq: 5 Million Residents in Baghdad to Benefit from Improved Water Supply and Wastewater Services

A US$210 million World Bank project will improve the quality of drinking water supply and wastewater services to 5 million residents in Baghdad who suffer from water shortages and the outbreak of waterborne diseases due to inadequate infrastructure, rapid population growth, and the inflow of internally displaced people.

The Baghdad Water Supply and Sewerage Improvement Project, approved today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors will support the Mayoralty of Baghdad and the Baghdad Water and Sewerage Authorities through improvement in utility management, and generate employment during the construction, operation and maintenance stages of implementation.

The project will also help reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases and improve the quality of life, health, and sanitation.

The recently completed National Water and Land Strategy (2015-2035) indicates that Baghdad will need substantial investments in its water supply and wastewater treatment systems over the next 20 years. Given limited availability of public funding, attracting commercial finance will be critical for implementing this ambitious strategy”, said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. “In close coordination with the International Finance Corporation, this project will focus on creating a more favorable business environment, and on supporting the preparation of feasibility studies and transactions to enable private sector participation in the water sector.

The residents of Baghdad deal with daily water service interruptions, especially during the hot summer months. Baghdad is one of the governorates impacted by outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Leakage from sewer pipes contaminates potable water networks and groundwater aquifers, which aggravates health and environmental problems. Contaminated water supply and improper disposal of sewage force families to spend a significant fraction of their income on medical treatment and to purchase bottled water.

Water supply and sanitation have immediate and major impacts on the quality of life of citizens”, said Thikra Alwash, Mayor of Baghdad. “We are committed to improving public services for the residents of Baghdad and to alleviating the burden households face on a daily basis in getting clean and reliable water supply. We are confident that improved access to these services can significantly strengthen people’s trust and confidence in the state and contribute to building social cohesion when it is most needed”.

Major cities like Baghdad face a growing population but have inadequate water infrastructure and service delivery capacity”, said Abdulhamid Azad, Lead Water Resources Specialist and Project Team Leader. This project will improve the city’s water and sanitations services as well as support the Baghdad Water and Sewerage Authorities in improving their institutional knowledge and preparedness in relation to water security and urban water management. Also, the project will finance capacity-building activities targeted to female technical and managerial staff to increase their professional skills and allow for career advancement within the Water and Sewerage Authorities.”

The project will finance the construction of a service reservoir with a total capacity of 135,000 cubic meters, which will help the city manage its water supply better in case of climate-induced droughts. The project will also rehabilitate existing sewerage pumping stations thus reducing the public health effects of untreated wastewater discharged into the Tigris. The project will contribute to the reduction of physical losses by replacing about 130 km of water supply distribution network and the creation of district metering areas.

(Source: World Bank)

Rotork to supply Karbala Refinery Project

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:58pm

By John Lee.

British-based engineering company Rotork is to supply the Karbala Refinery project in Iraq.

According to a press release from the company, Rotork will provide large quantities of IQ3 non-intrusive intelligent electric valve actuators, designed specifically for automated flow control systems in hazardous environments.

Due to open in 2020, the State Company of Oil Projects’ (SCOP) Karbala Refinery will have a refining capacity of 140,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd). Production will meet the latest international standards, serving the growing domestic demand for oil in Iraq and reducing the current level of refined product imports.

(Source: Rotork)

Baghdad “Stops” several Kurdish Landline Services

Iraq Business News (en) - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:58pm

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has reportedly ordered several Kurdish communication companies to stop providing landline services.

According to a report from Rudaw, the CMC ordered that all companies licensed by them should cut communications with companies that are not licensed, including Fast Link, Newroz, Link Tech, Wego/7net-layer, Nawant, Kurdtel, Tishknet and Cellnet.

A spokesperson for Newroz Telecom told Rudaw that the work of the civil services, such as hospitals, emergency lines for children, “police and security numbers, and the fire departments has been damaged.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

From Tears to Joy — Run for Children like Noor

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 3:51am

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced the roster of Honorary Co-Chairs for the May 5, 2018, IN THEIR SHOES 5K to benefit Iraq’s most vulnerable children:

  • His Excellency Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador of Iraq to the United States
  • Ambassador Ryan Crocker (Ret.), Former US Ambassador to Iraq and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Lt. General Jeffrey S. Buchanan, Commander, US Army North (Fifth Army), Served four tours in Iraq
  • Cynthia Ozbat and Elijah Ozbat, Gold Star Mother and brother of Cpt. Jesse Ozbat, served in Iraq, killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan
  • Zainab Salbi, Award winning humanitarian, media host, and author

And ICF welcomes back our 5K stars:  the three “Young Ambassadors” who are true testaments to the strength and resilience of Iraqi children.  Teeba was severely burned in a car bombing in Baghdad as a little girl.  Ala’a was abandoned in Iraq as a little boy with cerebral palsy.  And Humoody was shot in the face by terrorists and blinded.  Who better to represent the children of Iraq at this event?

THIS IS WHY WE RUN…

for children like Noor

Ten-year old Noor lives in poverty with her mother and little brother in a house of mud and sheet metal.   She enjoys going regularly to the Hope Bus for tutoring and a nutritious lunch, but she also works collecting empty cans from landfills to support her family.

Recently, Noor came to the bus, sobbing and saying her mother was about to die. Staff immediately went to check and discovered her mother had suffered a heart attack but didn’t have money to go to a doctor or buy medicine. They took her to a hospital, and Noor and her brother went to stay with a relative.  After several days, the mother was ready to go home and today, Noor is back in class at the Hope Bus!

Incoming ICF Chairman Mohammed Khudairi Khudairi said:

I am pleased and honored to have the opportunity to give back to the children of Iraq as the new Chairman of the Iraqi Children Foundation. As a young man spending summers in Iraq, I interacted with many underprivileged children who lived in dire conditions and those children became some of my best friends. I cherish those relationships to this day. 

“As an American and businessman, this cause is dear to my heart and I call on all our friends in the Iraqi-American community, business community, veterans, and Gold Star families to join us May 5 to run/walk ‘in their shoes’ for these vulnerable children.

(Source: ICF)

GardaWorld Weekly Security Report

Iraq Business News (en) - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 12:39am

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

$6bn Iraqi Port Development available for Investment

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 3:53am

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included the “Grand Port of Al Faw” 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:

Project cost: $6 billion

Location: Basra

Design capacity:

  • Phase one 2018: containers: 24 million ton/year, unpacked materials/ 24million ton/year
  • Phase two 2028: containers: 40 million ton/year, unpacked materials/ 32 million ton/year
  • Phase three 2038: containers: 70 million ton/year, unpacked materials/ 44 million ton/year

The project includes:

  • Eastern breakwater 8km
  • Western breakwater 15km
  • Two lines for containers berth 3.5km each 12 berth to each line total 24 containers berth and area for containers storage.
  • 13 Berths for unpacked materials (grains, cement..etc.) 3.5km with conveyor belts
  • Berths for Oil products export and import (outside the port basin)
  • Roads and railways
  • Area for buildings and trucks (around 4km²)
  • Navigational channel 30km length, 17m depth.
  • Berths for various goods 4.5km (22berths)
  • industrial zone (approximately 8.5km²)
  • depth in the port basin is 15-17 m

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

New Career Opportunities in Iraq

Iraq Business News (en) - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 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, 02/03/2018 - 3:51am

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraqi Kurdistan:

(Source: UN)

Market Review: A Tale of Two Halves & Liquidity

Iraq Business News (en) - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 5:57pm

By Ahmed Tabaqchali (pictured), CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The market in January was a tale of two halves. The first half started with a whimper with turnover declining 40% from December’s levels and prices drifting lower taking the market, as measured by the RSISUS Index, to a decline of over -4% by around mid-month.

The second half was almost the opposite with prices recovering steadily and turnover doubling from the that of the first half. The market ended the month +4.8%.

However, the average daily turnover for the full month was anaemic at 90% of the average of that of the last 12 months, itself a low figure to start with.

Which argues that the recovery is in the early tentative stages, but supports the case that the correction that began in March of last year has run its course by October, and that the market could play catch up as discussed in the outlook for 2018.

Please click here to download Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report.

Mr Tabaqchali (@AMTabaqchali) is the CIO of the AFC Iraq Fund, and is an experienced capital markets professional with over 25 years’ experience in US and MENA markets. He is a non-resident Fellow at the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS). He is a board member of the Credit Bank of Iraq.

His comments, opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any fund or security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax or investment advice. The information provided in this material is compiled from sources that are believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made of its correctness, is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding Iraq, the region, market or investment.

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