WFP helps Modernise Iraq’s Rationing System

WFP supports Iraq in modernising its Public Distribution System

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Iraq have launched an initiative to digitise the national public distribution system (PDS).

The first phase of digitisation will reach nearly 1.3 million people in and around Baghdad and Dohuk.

The PDS is Iraq’s biggest social safety net, providing food entitlements to almost the entire population in Iraq of 39 million people.

WFP is providing technical support to the government as it starts using identification technology and a citizen database to reduce processing time, improve service and maximise resources.

“The initiative guarantees the most efficient use of government resources and ensures that the intended citizens receive their food entitlement,” said WFP Country Director and Representative in Iraq Sally Haydock at the launch in Baghdad. “We’re using digitisation to better serve Iraqi citizens through this key social safety net.”

With WFP’s support, the government will move to a digitised system where citizens’ data is safely encrypted and stored, and where security is enhanced using fingerprints or iris scans. This will allow the government to identify and remove duplicate records as well as conduct biometric verification at the time of food collection. The new system replaces the current paper-based system.

WFP is also designing a mobile application, myPDS, that people can use to collect their entitlements as well as to update their family information about births, deaths and marriages – at their convenience, using personal smartphones.

“The ministry is working on updating data as we put in place technology-based solutions that address people’s needs,” said the Iraqi Minister of Trade Mohammed Hashem Al-Ani.

WFP is partnering on the initiative with the Iraqi Ministry of Trade. Modernising the PDS is one of the priorities of Iraq’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2018 – 2022). WFP’s partnership with the ministry dates to the early 1990s when WFP established a database for the PDS.

(Source: WFP)

Baghdad Policewomen’s Roles Expand

By Khulood al-Amiry for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Baghdad Policewomen’s Roles Expand as they Rise in Ranks

As in many places, women who work in law enforcement in Iraq have yet to achieve equality with their male counterparts, but they’re making progress.

The Rescue Directorate of the Ministry of Interior deployed Nov. 17 a group of policewomen to patrol the streets of Baghdad and monitor the gates of girls’ schools, colleges, institutes and markets in a bid to combat harassment in public places. That’s just one aspect of their jobs.

Click here to read the full story.

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.

Click here to read the full story.

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, 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.


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.

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