Baghdad


Will Iraqis get Green Light to enter Green Zone?

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.

Will Iraqis get green light to enter restricted Green Zone?

While new Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has promised to open Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone to the public and to through traffic, there are doubts that he will be able to fulfill that pledge.

The Green Zone, officially the International Zone, is a 4-square-mile area that’s home to Iraqi government buildings for the presidency, parliament, judiciary and the intelligence and national security staffs. Also located there are various foreign embassies, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom; other diplomatic missions; offices of international organizations, notably the UN; and residences of privileged Iraqis and high-level officials.

The restricted zone inconveniences many Baghdad residents, especially commuters. Opening the area could reduce heavily congested streets and slash the amount of time it takes to travel across town. It would also make it easier for citizens to access government agencies.

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US Advises Against attending Baghdad Int’l Fair

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has received a report that unspecified militia leaders have discussed plans for kidnapping U.S. citizens attending the 45th Baghdad International Fair, scheduled for November 10-19, 2018.

The militia leaders’ discussion included concealment techniques and ways of connecting the kidnappings to other entities with whom the militias possibly disagree with politically.  The Embassy has no further information regarding the timing, target, or method of any planned actions.

The Embassy goes on the advise people to avoid the Baghdad International Fair.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Baghdad)

Baghdad Firm wins UNOPS Order

By John Lee.

A Baghdad-based company has won a tender to supply and deliver garbage compactors, loaders and truck tractor with low-bed trailer to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Iraq.

The contract with Al-Nuwaira Trading Agencies Co. is valued at $320,000.

(Source: UNGM)

Iraqi Airways carries 9,200 Passengers between Iraq, Russia

By John Lee.

Iraqi Airways has reportedly carried 9,200 passengers between Iraq and Russia in the first 12 months of operating flights.

According to rusaviainsider.com, this consisted of 5,200 inbound to Russia and 4,000 outbound.

The majority of those passengers flew between Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport and Baghdad, with the rest flying between Vnukovo and Basra.

(Source: rusaviainsider.com)

Siemens to Boost Power Output at Al-Sadder

In line with Iraq’s goal to improve the efficiency and availability of the country’s power plants, Siemens will provide inspection and upgrade services for two power generation units at Al-Sadder Power Plant.

Located in Baghdad, the 600-megawatts (MW) facility is one of the country’s major power plants that currently supplies approximately 600,000 homes with power. The works will be conducted as part of a new contract between Siemens’ Power Generation Services Division and the Ministry of Electricity.

Under the agreement, Siemens will overhaul two SGT5-2000E gas turbines and perform its advanced 3-dimensional turbine blades and vanes (Si3D) upgrade. The Si3D upgrade is designed to improve power output and thermal efficiency through a combination of 3D aerodynamic design, cooling improvements, and advanced materials. These will help the power assets at Al-Sadder to generate enough power to supply an additional 100,000 homes with electricity.

“Siemens has been a development partner to Iraq for over 80 years. We are committed to supporting the country to strengthen its power infrastructure by offering innovative services that can be instrumental in upgrading existing facilities,” said Gianluigi Di Giovanni, Senior Executive Vice President of Siemens Power Generation Services in the Middle East and North Africa. “The latest upgrade and maintenance services at Al-Sadder, provided in collaboration with the Ministry of Electricity, will bring additional power to households, public buildings and industries.”

In addition to increasing the power output, the upgrade project will improve the efficiency of the turbines by up to 2 percent, resulting in significant fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions. The agreement also includes the plant’s SPPA-T3000 control system, the supply of anti-virus solutions as well as the support from Siemens’ Remote Expert Center, which is a 24/7 online maintenance support service, enabling more efficient fault diagnosis and troubleshooting.

The latest project at Al-Sadder plant follows a series of service agreements with Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity to carry out critical service and maintenance works at six power plants throughout the country. Once completed, the upgraded units will add 1,350 MW to the national grid, enough to supply approximately 20 million Iraqis with reliable electricity.

(Source: Siemens)

SOSi Wins $5m Contract at US Embassy

SOS International LLC (SOSi) has announced its award of a $5 million base plus four-year contract by the U.S. Army to provide human resources, accounting, and technical security assistance services to the Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

U.S. security assistance supports the development of a modern, accountable, fiscally sustainable, and professional Iraqi military capable of defending Iraq and its borders. U.S. security assistance programs also promote civilian oversight of the military, adherence to the rule of law, and the respect for human rights, while simultaneously increasing the Iraqi military’s capability to respond to threats and conduct counter-terrorism operations.

The U.S. Embassy Baghdad maintains the Office of Security Cooperation to further these goals and facilitate Iraq’s role as a responsible security partner, contributing to the peace and security of the region.

Frank Helmick (pictured), SOSi Senior Vice President of Mission Solutions Group, said:

“SOSi has been supporting U.S. liberalization and stabilization efforts in Iraq since 2003. We look forward to our continued relationship with the Office of Security Cooperation and State Department.”

(Source: SOSi)

Finland to Reopen Embassy in Baghdad

By John Lee.

Finland is preparing to reopen its embassy in Baghdad.

Finland has not had Finnish diplomatic personnel in Baghdad since 1991. Since 2006, Finland’s official representative for Iraq has been a Roving Ambassador based in Helsinki. At present, 14 EU member states are permanently represented in Baghdad at an ambassadorial level.

According to a statement from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the reopening of the embassy will promote the development of broad bilateral relations and commercial cooperation.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini (pictured) said:

Iraq belongs to the European neighbourhood, and its development will affect Finland, too. Finland has a fairly large Iraqi diaspora community, which means that cooperation between the citizens of the countries and other collaboration are increasing. The agenda of the discussions on the bilateral relations between Finland and Iraq includes also questions relating to the return of those whose asylum application has been refused.

(Source: Finnish Foreign Ministry)

Video: Iraq’s Largest Indoor Water Park Opens

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

As the summer heat increases in Iraq, Baghdad residents now get to enjoy a new water park, opened as a trial-run in the capital during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday.

The park’s capacity is 5,000 people, making it the largest indoor water park in the country.

View on YouTube

Baghdad Entrepreneurs get Communal Space and Resources

By Alexander Southworth, Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

IBBC Long Read: The Station – Iraq’s the first combined workspace in Iraq, providing tech and artistic entrepreneurs with a communal space and resources to develop and expand business projects.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) recently completed a mission to Baghdad, where Christophe Michels, Managing Director and Eng. Rasmi Al-Jabri Deputy Chairman, visited The Station, Iraq’s first combined workspace in Iraq, providing a hub for artistic & tech entrepreneurs to develop and expand business projects.

Located in Baghdad, The Station’s vision is to create a healthy work environment by providing entrepreneurs with experiences to develop and expand their projects. The institution aims to facilitate this entrepreneurial spirit by providing the space, support and resources to help build and develop ideas and implement them on the ground in a society which is heavily weighted towards public sector activity.

While Iraq is a middle-income country, it faces significant challenges more commonly found in low income nations. Such as a dependence on a primary commodity (crude oil), which generates 95 percent of its budget* while only employing 1 percent of the available labour force and a heavily weighted public sector, which accounts for around 60% of employment, with the government providing 40% of jobs.

This is why The Station is such an exciting initiative, it is a boost to a small but growing number of young Iraqis willing to engage and develop the private sector in Iraq. Iraq has one of the most youthful demographics in the world, with nearly half its population being less than 21 years of age.

Young Iraqis, faced either with closed avenues to public sector employment or who do not wish to conform to a status quo which does not reward entrepreneurial spirit, can find at The Station an environment which does just the opposite, facilitating a hub of ideas and resources beneficial to inspiring entrepreneurs.

Inspiration behind the Idea

The founders visited various innovative hubs/co-working spaces around the Middle East and were inspired by the activities and the economic/social impact they were having in those specific communities. They sought to replicate these spaces, but in a way that is relevant to Iraq. The co-founders are entrepreneurs themselves, and they understand the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Therefore, they decided to create a space with all the facilities they believe are needed to help such an environment thrive. The idea of The Station was not merely to create a physical space but a cultural one.

Haider Hamzoz Media Director at the Station explained that: “Young people in Iraq as a whole aspire to work in the public sector upon graduation, because there have been no viable options other than that. It is not recommended to take huge risks such as investing in a business venture (unless it is a restaurant or barber shop) because there is no track record of such activities in Iraq – at least not in the last two decades. However, start-ups require risk-taking and we want to build a community of risk takers and innovators.”

Funding & Support

The Station was founded by Mujahed al-Waisi, Muhanned Munjed and Ali Tarik. The Station has received funds from The Al-Handhal International Group and is supported by the Iraqi Private Banks League, Earthlink and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Baghdad.

Future Direction

The Station is working towards starting an incubator program, to empower the ecosystem in Iraq. It also aims to establish and/or partner with venture capitals to fund and invest in startups, businesses and entrepreneurs. The Station also wants to be a driving force in policy advocacy through international agencies and diplomatic entities to empower the Iraqi private sector, and the role of the youth within this sector.

The Station is currently establishing its own Research and Development Centre that will offer a myriad of services, such as mentorship and policy advocacy. Activities will revolve around engaging the youth in discussions and research, not only with the private sector but with the public sector itself, essentially bridging the gap between the government and its citizens, and this is a development that ought to be celebrated because it will empower not only the Iraqi economy but its democratic institution. The Station is seeking to expand to Mosul in the next two years and has plans to develop a Station in the South and on the other side (Al-Karkh) of Baghdad. This hugely positive development

Haider Hamzoz Media Director at the Station says: “With the erosion of ISIS, the youth are in need of a healthy environment more than ever to feed their self-development and we are building a foundation that will allow them to become world-thinkers, innovators and successful role-models for the new generation to come.”

For more information please visit: http://the-station.iq/ or contact info@the-station.iq

*Source: UNIraq  http://www.uniraq.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=941&Itemid=472&lang=en

(Source: IBBC)

Baghdad Entrepreneurs get Communal Space and Resources

By Alexander Southworth, Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

IBBC Long Read: The Station – Iraq’s the first combined workspace in Iraq, providing tech and artistic entrepreneurs with a communal space and resources to develop and expand business projects.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) recently completed a mission to Baghdad, where Christophe Michels, Managing Director and Eng. Rasmi Al-Jabri Deputy Chairman, visited The Station, Iraq’s first combined workspace in Iraq, providing a hub for artistic & tech entrepreneurs to develop and expand business projects.

Located in Baghdad, The Station’s vision is to create a healthy work environment by providing entrepreneurs with experiences to develop and expand their projects. The institution aims to facilitate this entrepreneurial spirit by providing the space, support and resources to help build and develop ideas and implement them on the ground in a society which is heavily weighted towards public sector activity.

While Iraq is a middle-income country, it faces significant challenges more commonly found in low income nations. Such as a dependence on a primary commodity (crude oil), which generates 95 percent of its budget* while only employing 1 percent of the available labour force and a heavily weighted public sector, which accounts for around 60% of employment, with the government providing 40% of jobs.

This is why The Station is such an exciting initiative, it is a boost to a small but growing number of young Iraqis willing to engage and develop the private sector in Iraq. Iraq has one of the most youthful demographics in the world, with nearly half its population being less than 21 years of age.

Young Iraqis, faced either with closed avenues to public sector employment or who do not wish to conform to a status quo which does not reward entrepreneurial spirit, can find at The Station an environment which does just the opposite, facilitating a hub of ideas and resources beneficial to inspiring entrepreneurs.

Inspiration behind the Idea

The founders visited various innovative hubs/co-working spaces around the Middle East and were inspired by the activities and the economic/social impact they were having in those specific communities. They sought to replicate these spaces, but in a way that is relevant to Iraq. The co-founders are entrepreneurs themselves, and they understand the obstacles faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Therefore, they decided to create a space with all the facilities they believe are needed to help such an environment thrive. The idea of The Station was not merely to create a physical space but a cultural one.

Haider Hamzoz Media Director at the Station explained that: “Young people in Iraq as a whole aspire to work in the public sector upon graduation, because there have been no viable options other than that. It is not recommended to take huge risks such as investing in a business venture (unless it is a restaurant or barber shop) because there is no track record of such activities in Iraq – at least not in the last two decades. However, start-ups require risk-taking and we want to build a community of risk takers and innovators.”

Funding & Support

The Station was founded by Mujahed al-Waisi, Muhanned Munjed and Ali Tarik. The Station has received funds from The Al-Handhal International Group and is supported by the Iraqi Private Banks League, Earthlink and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Baghdad.

Future Direction

The Station is working towards starting an incubator program, to empower the ecosystem in Iraq. It also aims to establish and/or partner with venture capitals to fund and invest in startups, businesses and entrepreneurs. The Station also wants to be a driving force in policy advocacy through international agencies and diplomatic entities to empower the Iraqi private sector, and the role of the youth within this sector.

The Station is currently establishing its own Research and Development Centre that will offer a myriad of services, such as mentorship and policy advocacy. Activities will revolve around engaging the youth in discussions and research, not only with the private sector but with the public sector itself, essentially bridging the gap between the government and its citizens, and this is a development that ought to be celebrated because it will empower not only the Iraqi economy but its democratic institution. The Station is seeking to expand to Mosul in the next two years and has plans to develop a Station in the South and on the other side (Al-Karkh) of Baghdad. This hugely positive development

Haider Hamzoz Media Director at the Station says: “With the erosion of ISIS, the youth are in need of a healthy environment more than ever to feed their self-development and we are building a foundation that will allow them to become world-thinkers, innovators and successful role-models for the new generation to come.”

For more information please visit: http://the-station.iq/ or contact info@the-station.iq

*Source: UNIraq  http://www.uniraq.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=941&Itemid=472&lang=en

(Source: IBBC)