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IBBC hosts well attended Conference at The Mansion House
On June 16th IBBC hosted it’s best attended London Conference at The Mansion House yet, with over 280 delegates from Iraq, UK, and International European and Middle East countries.
With an overarching theme of ‘Iraq open to the world’ a wide range of panels discussed Iraq’s rapidly improving international position across economic indicators, political relationships, and security. Baroness Nicholson, IBBC President, welcomed delegates, The Lord Mayor spoke of London’s importance as a financial centre and Lord Ahmed (Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and United Nations) presented an upbeat outline of UK’s trading and political relationship with Iraq including significant increase in bilateral trade in the last year. Professor Hamid Khalaf Ahmed, Executive Director for the Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq & Advisor to the Prime Minister, spoke on behalf of the Iraqi Prime Minster, to reiterate the determination of the GOI to see through its five priorities, including setting a budget and delivering on targets for corruption and infrastructure development, increase in public sector jobs and investment in education at all levels of Iraqi society. Dr Mohammed Shukri, Chairman, Kurdistan Board of Investment outlined a focus on diverse investment opportunities including agriculture, tech, and infrastructure in the KRG. Two prominent sponsors Mr Sardar Al Bebany, IBBC Executive Committee Member, CEO & Chairman, Sardar Group and Mr Amet Selman, CEO, AAA Holding Group offered their thanks to IBBC audience and outlined their commitment and importance to investing in their people and businesses in Iraq.
Three strong focus areas emerged from the conference, and were reflected in the panels along with other important topics:
Finance, chaired by Mr John Curtin, Ernst & Young Iraq, Included panellists Mr Haider F. Al-Shamaa, International Islamic Bank; Mr Tim Palmer, UK Export Finance; Mr Salahuddin Al-Hadeethi, Ministry of Finance; Dr Yasser Hassan, National Bank of Egypt; Mr Raed Hanna, Mutual Finance Ltd
Energy; Chaired by Mr Luay Al Khateeb, Centre on Global Energy Policy – Columbia U. With a keynote Address from: Mr Laith Al Shaher, Deputy Minister of Oil. Panellists included:Dr Abdulhamzah Hadi Abood, the Advisor from the Ministry of Electricity; Mr Laith Al Shaher, Ministry of Oil;Mr Andrew Wiper, Basrah Gas Company; Mr Mushhood Haider, Scotland Trade, and Investment; Mr Ali Al Janabi, Shell Iraq and UAE; Ms Sara Akbar, Oil Serv
And keynote discussion on Iraq Open to the World.
Professor Frank Gunter opened the discussion with a keynote presentation of the key findings of his report ‘‘Seaports and Airports of Iraq: Rules Versus Infrastructure’ (see separate briefing here)
Chairman Mrs Hadeel Hasan Al Hadeel Al Hasan LLC led the discussion including, panellists:Professor Frank Gunter, Lehigh University; Mr Steve Alexander; Sardar Group; Mr Richard Cotton,AAA Holdings; Mr Hassan Heshmat, Hydro-C; H.E. Bader Mohammad Alawadi, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait.
Significant panels also included.
Education and skills roundtable; of acute importance due to the technical demands on Iraq’s expanding economy and the need to upgrade university courses and overseas scholarship support for 5,000 Iraqi students from the GOI, Chaired by Professor Mohammed Al Uzri (IBBC Health and Education Advisor) with Professor Hamid Khalaf Ahmed responding to questions and outlining the GOI plans for education with IBBCs University and skills members.
An emergent theme of growing importance is ‘Heritage’, as a business and culturally important sector, chaired by: Professor Mohammed Al Uzri, with Dr John McGinnis, TheBritish Museum; with Prof Gamal Abdelmonem, Nottingham Trent University, Mr Ali Al Makhzomy, Bilweekend; Dr Rosalind Wade Haddon, British Institute for the Study of Iraq;Professor Chris Whitehead, Newcastle University.
During the day there were also a KRG roundtable discussions with Dr Mohammed Shukri and a full complement of KRG businesses and chambers of commerce, A Tech forum on ‘The digitisation of Iraq. Chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC, including Mr Saquib Ahmed, MD SAP Iraq; Mr Padraig O’Hannelly, Iraq Business News; Mr Mohsen Garcia, CEO 1001 Media; Mr Peter Chamberlin, Scott Logic, Ms Cynthia El Khoury, Mastercard Iraq; Mr Ali Al-Khairalla, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq (available to view below)
A special ceremony awarded The Rasmi Al Jabri Award (for Iraqi companies dedicated to best international practices and significant growth of Investment and turnover). This year the winners are AAA Holding and Mr Amet Selman for their work for successfully providing fertilizers to the Iraqi market in conjunction with the GOI and third-party agricultural groups. (Video link here). The conference was preceded by an ebullient reception for over 150 delegates the previous evening at the Institute of engineers, where Prof. Dr Sabih G. Khisaf (of Hyperloop Dubai) gave a talk on the importance of engineering and his work on the hyperloop and hosted by John Scott of IBBC.
Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC who chaired the conference commented ‘This is our 11th Iraq Day at The Mansion House and probably the most successful we have had yet. Iraq is rapidly developing, building on a stable budget, good security, political stability, and increasingly good relations with her neighbours. Now is the time for Iraq to truly embrace business and to cut down on outdated bureaucracy, regulations and the corruption going hand in hand with these. If this does not happen, the country risks missing out on all the new opportunities arising from finally opening to the world. As IBBC we are optimistic and will continue to lend our support to our Members and the wider Iraqi community’.
IBBC Spring Conference 2023 Sponsors:
Principal Sponsor: AAA Holding Group
Gold Sponsors: Sardar Group & Trade Bank of Iraq
Bronze Sponsors: Standard Chartered Bank & Hydro – C
To attend future events, including the Iraq SME conference, July 6th, and IBBC Autumn conference in Dubai, Dec 8th, please follow our website.