IBBC visit to Iraq, May 14th-20th

The IBBC management team attended an extensive round of meetings with officials in Iraq from May 14th – 20th. Led by IBBC President Baroness Nicholson and MD Christophe Michels, the visit first included the opening of and attendance at the first UK-Iraq Trade Fair at Al Burhan’s new facilities in Baghdad. The event was a great success, with full sessions and leading dignitaries in attendance, including the senior aviation advisor to the Prime minster Mr Naser Al-Asadi and Mr Kamil Al Awadhi, Regional Vice president of MENA at the International Air Transport Association ( IATA) and former PM Mr Haider Abadi as well as a number of members including, Menzies, Al Burhan, Mselect, London Sky, Sardar, Al Maseer, G4S, Serco and AAA holding group. Please click here for the UK Iraq Trade Fair

During the Baghdad visit, the team also met with Dr Haider M. Mekkiyah, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and his Deputy Dr Salar Ameen, who are both due to attend IBBC’s Spring Conference on 16th of June to present delegates attending with new Iraqi Investment Map and details about key projects. At the Ministry of Oil, they met with Deputy Minister Mr Laith Al Shaher who will be presenting his Ministry’s outlook Oil and gas production in Iraq at The Mansion House. In a similar vein they also met the Governor of the Central Bank to discuss the CBI’s contribution to this major annual event.

Further meetings were held with among others Dr Abdulkareem Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Ministers Advisory Council, who confirmed the Prime Minister’s full support of IBBC, the Iraqi Climate Change Envoy, Dr Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador Haider Hadi, Head of the of the Europe Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Thafer Mahdi Abdullah, Chairman of the Tourism Board.

The U.S Ambassador Mrs Romanowski hosted a lunch for Baroness Nicholson at the US Residence. She suggested closer cooperation between IBBC and its US counterpart and generally for Western nations to work closely together to ameliorate the business environment in Iraq. The British Embassy arranged a reception for British Businesses operating in Iraq which was attended by Baroness Nicholson and Christophe Michels. Mr Haider Al Shamaa, IBBC Member Representative in Iraq and Chairman of the International Islamic Bank, hosted a well-attended dinner for the IBBC team and Members.

Later in the week the team helicoptered to Kut (Courtesy of Al Burhan) for a tour of the AL Burhan group hollow cement factory, a visit to Kut dam (where British engineering from the 1930s is still in use), to the Grain silo and mill, to the British Kut war cemetery with Brigadier James Ellery, and to General Sir Charles Townsend residence of 1916. On return the team met with the Governor of Wasit, who expressed their enthusiasm for British companies to invest in solar power.

Finally, the team travelled by car to the Marshes with Ismael Al Bustan, where Baroness Nicholson originally supported the Marsh Arabs from the 1990s establishing the AMAR Foundation.

During the visit, the team met with numerous IBBC Members. All are busy and active as is Iraq as a whole, and Baghdad in particular, with tourists visiting from all over the world and several large business delegations visiting in parallel. Iraq is developing at a fast step and IBBC is pleased to have been instrumental in this development since 2009.