Iraq Banking & Finance News


US EXIM agrees $3bn Iraq Financing

On Tuesday, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Iraq’s Ministry of Finance aimed at rebuilding Iraq and enhancing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

EXIM’s Acting Vice Chairman Scott Schloegel signed the MOU today with Iraq’s Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Maher Hammad Johan at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq held at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also attended. The signing was part of a U.S. diplomatic mission from February 11-16 being led by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Jordan, Turkey, Beirut, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait.

“This MOU signals that American workers want to be part of the rebuilding effort in Iraq,” said Acting Vice Chairman Scott Schloegel. “We anticipate that the financing following from this agreement will support scores of jobs across the United States over the coming years.”

Under the MOU, EXIM and Iraq’s Ministry of Finance agreed to identify potential projects in Iraq for procurement of goods manufactured in the United States and services produced by American workers. Areas for collaboration and business development include infrastructure, rail and road transportation, aircraft, energy, health care, and security, among others.

EXIM has agreed to facilitate short- and medium-term financing of U.S. exports to Iraqi state-owned enterprises up to a total of $3 billion in aggregate.

Up to $1 billion of this financing may be allocated to eligible short-term commodity transactions. Access to EXIM financing is subject to the bank’s approval for each individual transaction and must comply with the terms for EXIM’s financing.

(Source: EXIM)

World Bank’s Commitment to Iraq Reaches $4.7bn

The World Bank Group and the Government of Iraq signed two projects today totaling US$510 million to help the Iraqi people by improving living conditions, enhancing water supplies, and creating jobs.

The two projects along with the ongoing US$750 million Emergency Operation for Development program and other planned commitments, will increase the World Bank’s total commitment to Iraq to US$4.7 billion, compared to US$600 million four years ago.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim (pictured) attended the signing ceremony for the two projects, which took place on the sidelines of the Iraq Reconstruction Conference hosted by the State of Kuwait.

The increased Bank commitment will help support immediate restoration of education and health services, rebuilding important roads and bridges, and rehabilitation of electricity and water systems. The ongoing emergency reconstruction projects have already created thousands of jobs for Iraqis and the new projects are expected to create millions more.

“We will mobilize the full range of the World Bank Group’s expertise to invest in a new, stronger Iraq,” President Kim said in a speech at the opening of the Iraq Reconstruction Conference. “We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure the smooth and sustainable transition from stabilization through recovery to reconstruction.”

The World Bank is committed to scaling up its support for Iraq reconstruction and development subject to availability of resources. In addition to the financial support, the World Bank Group has been actively engaging with the Iraqi Government through providing technical assistance for Iraq’s recovery and to lay the foundation for private sector investments in Iraq.

“We will work hand in hand with the private sector to support Iraq,” said Kim. “We must all invest in Iraq’s smart and ambitious youth. We must invest in Iraq’s resilient women. These are the investments that will remain long after the reconstruction process has ended.”

In the leadup to the conference, the Iraqi government unveiled its National Reconstruction and Development Framework. The framework aims to both redress the impact of the current crisis and prevent future crises by addressing the structural causes of conflict.

By promoting the critical reforms needed to establish a new social contract, the framework provides a roadmap for rebuilding trust between citizens and the government.

To read the full transcript of President Kim’s speech, click here.

(Source: World Bank Group)

Video: Donors pledge more than $300m to Iraq

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

Iraq is hoping for more concrete pledges from international donors on the second day of a conference on rebuilding cities and infrastructure shattered by the conflict with ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS).

On Monday, non-governmental organisations pledged more than $300 million to the reconstruction effort, far short of the $100 billion the government says it needs.

Al Jazeera‘s Sami Zeidan reports from Kuwait:

NIC Announces 157 Major Strategic Projects in Iraq

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has just announced the 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.

The 157 large- and medium-sized projects span all sectors of the Iraqi economy, including oil and gas, transport, housing, agriculture and education.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

Iran Eyes Closer Banking Ties with Iraq

Iran’s president called for stronger banking relations with Iraq to allow for a growth in the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

In a meeting with Iraq’s parliament speaker in Tehran on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani said expansion of economic and trade ties between the two neighbors hinges on enhanced baking relations.

The central banks of Iran and Iraq need to promote cooperation and keep working together to contribute to the bilateral trade, he added.

The president also hailed the Iraqi government’s success to defeat terrorism and thwart the hostile plots to foment discord in the Arab country, reiterating Tehran’s support for an integrated Iraq and opposition to any change in the borders of regional countries.

For his part, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri expressed gratitude to Iran for supporting his nation in the fight against terrorism.

Iraq is at the beginning of a new era, and looks for continued support from Iran on the road to development and reconstruction, the speaker added.

The Iraqi speaker is in Iran for the 13th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC).

Iran, a close ally of Iraq, supported the Arab nation in the fight against Daesh (ISIL) since the terrorist group invaded Iraq in summer 2014.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iraq once again Controls own Economy, Free of UN Sanctions

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has agreed to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq when the country invaded Kuwait 27 years ago.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Dec. 9 the country had completed its obligations under the sanctions, which were imposed in 1990 when dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The UNSC levied the penalties after naming Iraq a threat to international security and ordered it to pay reparations to states and other parties that suffered as a result of the invasion.

Some 27 years later, Iraq is still suffering the effects of the invasion. Hisham al-Rukabi, the head of Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s press office, told Al-Monitor that the Iraqi people welcomed the recent UN decision.

Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said the move is “an important event in Iraq’s recent history and the closing of a painful [age] that lasted a long time, during which the Iraqi people suffered reduced sovereignty as well as political and economic sanctions that damaged the country’s institutions as well as individuals.”

Lifting the sanctions, he said, “will make Iraq more able to develop and achieve prosperity for its citizens, and restore the world’s trust so it can deal with Iraq as a fully sovereign nation.”

He predicted the decision will allow Iraq to play a greater political and economic role in the Middle East, experience an economic recovery and attract new investment.

Iraq once again Controls own Economy, Free of UN Sanctions

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has agreed to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq when the country invaded Kuwait 27 years ago.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said Dec. 9 the country had completed its obligations under the sanctions, which were imposed in 1990 when dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The UNSC levied the penalties after naming Iraq a threat to international security and ordered it to pay reparations to states and other parties that suffered as a result of the invasion.

Some 27 years later, Iraq is still suffering the effects of the invasion. Hisham al-Rukabi, the head of Vice President Nouri al-Maliki’s press office, told Al-Monitor that the Iraqi people welcomed the recent UN decision.

Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said the move is “an important event in Iraq’s recent history and the closing of a painful [age] that lasted a long time, during which the Iraqi people suffered reduced sovereignty as well as political and economic sanctions that damaged the country’s institutions as well as individuals.”

Lifting the sanctions, he said, “will make Iraq more able to develop and achieve prosperity for its citizens, and restore the world’s trust so it can deal with Iraq as a fully sovereign nation.”

He predicted the decision will allow Iraq to play a greater political and economic role in the Middle East, experience an economic recovery and attract new investment.

Genel Shares Rise on Debt Reduction Plan

By John Lee.

Shares in Genel Energy closed the day up 5.9 percent on Wednesday, after the company’s bondholders approved its proposal to reduce the outstanding bond debt from $421.8 million to $300 million.

It will also extend maturity through amending and restating terms to a new 5 year tenor.

DNB Markets and Pareto Securities acted as managers for the refinancing.

(Source: Genel Energy)

KRG, Kurdistan Parliament discuss Financial Situation

A top Kurdistan Regional Government delegation, headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani held an extensive meeting with the Kurdistan Parliament Deputy Speaker Jaafar Ebrahim Eminky and heads of Parliamentary Committees of Natural Resources, Industry, Energy, Financial and Legal Affairs.

The KRG delegation included Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and a number of senior officials.

In the meeting both sides discussed a number of pressing issues related to the current situation in the Kurdistan Region. They shed light on budget options for the 2018 fiscal year, relations with Baghdad, Kurdistan oil production, mechanisms to pay back debts, fighting corruption, transparency, reforms and efforts to protect the constitutional rights of the Kurdistan Region.

The KRG and Parliament officials stressed on the importance of continued cooperation and coordination between the Kurdistan Government and Parliament and agreed that priority should be given to securing the salaries of the public sector employees, conducting reforms and auditing in the payroll systems of the Region.

Both sides also agreed that relevant Kurdistan Parliament committees visit their federal counterparts in Baghdad to lobby against passing the draft 2018 federal budget bill that significantly reduced Kurdistan Region’s share of the federal budget.

(Source: KRG)

Iraq “Fully Implements” Chapter VII, Oil-for-Food Program

The UN Security Council announced on Friday that all the measures imposed in its resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016) pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in relation to the Iraq oil-for-food programme had been fully implemented.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2390 (2017), the Council welcomed the fact that the remaining funds in the escrow accounts established pursuant to resolution 1958 (2010) had been transferred to the Government of Iraq pursuant to resolution 2335 (2016).

The Council acknowledged the Secretary-General’s final report on the matter (document S/2017/820), which stated, among other things, that the remaining $14,283,565 in the administrative escrow account had been transferred to Iraq.

Following the adoption, Amy Noel Tachco (United States) applauded Iraq’s complete implementation of measures under the oil-for-food programme, although the country still faced many challenges.  She looked forward to close cooperation internationally and bilaterally in support of Iraq as a federal, democratic and prosperous country.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2390 (2017) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016),

Acknowledging receipt of the final report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2335 (2016), S/2017/820,

“1.   Welcomes the implementing arrangements entered into by the Secretary-General and the Government of Iraq as requested in paragraph 7 of Security Council resolution 1958 (2010);

“2.   Also welcomes that the remaining funds in the escrow accounts established pursuant to paragraphs 3–5 of Security Council resolution 1958 (2010) have been transferred to the Government of Iraq pursuant to Security Council resolution 2335 (2016);

“3.   Concludes that all the measures imposed by the Security Council in resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016) pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations have been fully implemented by the parties.”

(Source: UN)