Baghdad


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.

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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)

Video: Fire hits Iraq’s biggest Ballot Warehouse

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

Emergency services try to put out a fire that ripped through Iraq’s biggest ballot warehouse in eastern Baghdad’s Al-Russafa district, ahead of a vote recount prompted by allegations of fraud during legislative elections that saw a surprise victory for a populist cleric:

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IBBC completes Productive Mission to Baghdad

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), visited Baghdad on 2-3 June, accompanied by Managing Director Christophe Michels, as well as Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman and Iraq Representative to meet with numerous politicians and IBBC member representatives.

Jonathan Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq joined the IBBC team for several high profile meetings.

The IBBC management first attended a religious tolerance seminar and Iftar dinner on 2 June organised by the AMAR Foundation in Baghdad, where numerous representatives of different religious groups in Iraq were present, as well as notable academics, journalists and artists. The dinner was preceded by a meeting with the Chaldeen Patriarch.

Meetings were held on 3 June with H.E. Mr Kadhim Finjan, Iraqi Minister of Transport together with  IBBC Member representatives from Serco, G4S, Al Burhan Group and Menzies Aviation at Adnan Place in Baghdad, where constructive talks were held on further cooperation in the civil aviation industry.

Later meetings were also held with Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers and Dr AbdulKariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee at the Council of Ministers in Baghdad on behalf of IBBC members.

The IBBC team also met Dr Barham Salih, former Prime Minister of the KRG and former Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Iraq and founder and leader of the Coalition for Democracy and Justice. Dr Barham Salih is a long-time friend and associate of the Iraq Britain Business Council and will be attending the IBBC Weekend Retreat at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park from 6-8 July.

In the late afternoon of 3 June IBBC hosted a meeting for its members at the Babylon hotel. The meeting was joined by Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Professor Sabbah Mushatat, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Eng. Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister for Housing, Construction & Public Municipalities and Deputy Head of Refaato (Reconstruction fund for areas affected by terrorism https://www.refaato.iq/en/) .

IBBC also visited The Station in Baghdad during their visit, which is the first combined workspace in Iraq, providing tech and artistic entrepreneurs with a communal space and resources to develop and expand business projects. This exciting initiative is a boost to a small but growing number of young Iraqis willing to engage and develop the private sector in Iraq. The building itself is a landmark of modern architecture in the heart of Baghdad. For more information please visit: http://the-station.iq/.

(Source: IBBC)

Hanwha receives $230m Payment for Bismaya

By John Lee.

South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering and Construction (E&C) has said it haws received an additional payment of $230 million from the Iraqi government for work carried out in the first half of this year on the Bismayah New City project in Baghdad.

According to the report from Business Korea, the total contract is valued at $10.1 billion, of which Hanwha has so far received a total of $3.47 billion.

The project will see around 100,000 homes built near the capital.

(Source: Business Korea)

ZhenHua signs East Baghdad Deal

By John Lee.

China’s ZhenHua Oil [Jinhua] has signed a service contract to develop the southern part of the East Baghdad oil field.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] said that the signature of the contract was significance for Baghdad because it is the first project in the capital.

The development of the field will raise the production of the Midland Oil Company.

As part of the deal, the project will also provide social services, and see the construction of a housing complex with 2000 residential units.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Four Special Economic Zones open for Investment

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)

$210m Project to Improve Baghdad Water

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)

4 Metropolitan Transport Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included four subway and metropolitan rail 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:

1. Baghdad Metro

The project consist of two lines with total length of 46km. it has 47 station, two locomotive garages on both lines, and three power transferring stations.

  • The first line (23km 25 station) starts from the main locomotive garage north east of Baghdad through (10*10) project location –previously, to Al Sadir city crossing Al Thawra St. heading to Baghdad center to Al Jimhoriya St. to its final destination Antar Sq.
  • The second line (23km 22 stations) starts from south east of Baghdad near Aqaba Bin Nafee Sq. –Sadoon St. City center, crossing the Tigris to reach Al Faris Al Arabi Sq. forming two branches, one to Al Mansoor and the other to Al Bayaa where the second locomotive garage is located.
  • The project can provide comfortable and efficient transportation services to 250 thousand passenger/h in all stations.
  • Ministry of Transportation contracted a number of specialized consulting companies in the mid-seventies to conduct a study regarding Mass Transit that resulted to using tracks according to the feasible study done in 1978 (Feasibility study and Preliminary Design of an integrated Transport System within the City of Baghdad)
  • A contract was signed with Sestra Co. (French), one of the specialized international companies, to conduct the initial designs and the tender documents under the title (Technical, Legal and Contractual Requirement for Baghdad Metro Project)
  • The estimated cost of the project including detailed designs and execution of the two lines excluding extensions is €5.7b which is roughly $6b according to the French Co. feasible study adding to that $2b for acquisitions, total cost will be $8b. EPC document was based on turnkey delivery system.

2. Baghdad Mono Rail

A vital project with good financial revenues, prepared by French Alstom Co.

  • Estimated cost: $ 1.5b
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Project purpose: to solve traffic jams and improve services in Baghdad.
  • Phases, locations, implementation lines in Baghdad
  • Phase one: 15.5 km, Kadhmiya-Al Sadir City-Shaab, with 12 internal station and crossing the Tigris
  • Phase two: 4.45km, the International Station in Alawi-Utaifiya with two internal stations.

3. Mono Rail in Holy Karbala Province

This project is considered to be one of the major strategic projects in Holy Karbala Province for its importance in resolving the transportation problem of visitors coming to the Holy city. The project starts from the station Bada’at Aswadin Al-Husainiya District and going toward the Baghdad road taking the middle path of the main road toward Bab Twerej and passing through Al-Salam bridge and then through Al-Ibrahimiya station.

  • Length:18 km/ dual line/ 20 passengers stations.
  • Estimated cost: 450 million dollars.

4. Basra Metro

This project is considered to be one of the major strategic projects in Basra Province for its importance in resolving the transportation problem.

  • The metro contains 5 main lines with 35 main and branch lines
  • First line: Sa’ad square-Basra University-can be extended to the city center.
  • Second line: sa’ad square-Zubair-can be extended to Safwan
  • Third line: Sa’ad-Al-Ashar-Shalamja
  • Fourth line: Sa’ad square-Abu Al-Khaseeb-Faw
  • Fifth line: Sa’ad square-14th July street-presidential palaces.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)