Iraq Industry & Trade News


Iraq is Iran’s 2nd Biggest Non-Oil Customer

By John Lee.

Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPOI) has issued data showing that five countries — China, Iraq, UAE, South Korea and India — accounted for 68.7 percent of Iran’s total non-oil exports in the first five months of the current Iranian fiscal year (March 20-Aug. 22).

Its non-oil exports (including gas condensate) fell 5 percent in the period, to $17.193 billion.

China was the main importer of goods from Iran, accounting for 21.8 percent of the total, with Iraq taking 15.1 percent with $2.604 billion, followed by the UAE, South Korea, India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand and Taiwan.

(Source: Trend)

(Image credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iran, Iraq to Synchronize Power Grids within Months

Iran’s Deputy Energy Minister for Electricity and Energy Affairs Houshang Falahatian (pictured) has stated that the power grids of Iran and Iraq will be interconnected in mid-November 2017.

Iran is ready to take a serious part in reconstruction of the Iraqi electricity grid once terrorists have been eliminated from the area” Falahatian added.

He also emphasized Iran’s readiness to engage “seriously” in three sectors including reconstruction of Iraq’s production, distribution and transmission lines, and the participation of the Iranian private sector.

Falahatian also said pointed out the need to synchronize the electricity grids of the two countries, saying that the plan is to connect the two countries’ power grids in mid-November this year, which could play an important role in increasing the amount of electricity exchanges.

In case of any request from the Iraqi government, the possibility exists to reconstruct the Iraqi distribution and transmission networks within two years.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Tech in Iraq

By Mohammed Khudairi, for Bite.Tech. Re-published with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Through many visits to Iraq and exciting conversations with visionaries like Hal Miran, I began to learn about Iraq’s budding world of startups, incubators and entrepreneurs.

Communities and organizations such as FikraSpace in Baghdad, along with Re:Coded and 51Labs based at TechHub in Erbil, have all developed in recent years and are growing at an astonishing pace. In my quest to figure out how I could best contribute to this ecosystem, I learned that we don’t have to wait for more “traditional” investment conditions to get involved.

Iraq’s Potential

In many ways, Iraq has been closed off from the rest of the world for many decades due to war and sanctions and now the people of Iraq are hungry for innovation and development. Iraq’s young, growing population of 37 million people, an increasing percentage of the population on the internet (17.2% in 2015), and mobile subscriptions on the rise (93.8 per 100 people had mobile subscriptions in 2015), make it a promising environment for tech. Source: World Bank.

Iraq still faces many issues including security, political and financial challenges, but the beauty of technology is that it can potentially allow developing nations like Iraq to “leapfrog” in the evolution of certain consumer processes, e-commerce, on-demand services, fintech and many more.

For those interested in diversifying their investments outside the more established tech communities and in gaining access to new (and potentially undervalued) opportunities, Iraq is fertile ground. While investors can’t turn a blind eye to the legal, financial, and operational challenges that exist, we all know that where there’s risk, there’s reward.

The Road Ahead

Good tech ecosystems require skilled human capital. The Iraqi government can support universities and other institutions by investing in science and technology programs and emphasizing these fields’ importance to Iraq’s future economy. Additionally, the government can work to improve the conditions for foreign direct investment (FDI) into Iraq by strengthening the legal frameworks and recourse surrounding FDI. This is what is currently veering foreign investors away from Iraq and into other MENA countries who have established a more secure legal framework for FDI.

While there’s a number of measures the government can implement to make it easier on new businesses and FDI, it may take some time for the government to establish these reforms. Rather than waiting on the government, I encourage those interested in making Iraq a better place to take action now and provide support to this ecosystem where possible.

Aside from financial investment, many of the Iraqi diaspora have access to resources, institutions or technology that could be very useful to entrepreneurs and tech communities in Iraq. Those interested should follow Bite.Tech and other online sources to learn more about the tech ecosystem in Iraq and contact organizations directly.

Any support will go a long way to these individuals who are dealing with regular power outages, security challenges and limited local institutional resources. These brave men and women will be the entrepreneurs who forge a new economy and transform Iraq into a modern, inclusive and innovative society it can be.

Articles by external contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bite.Tech.

S. Korea to Train Public Employees in Iraq

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Park Young-Kyu, the Consul General of Korea, and his accompanying delegation, in Erbil.

Mr. Park conveyed a letter from Mr. Moon Jae-In, President of the Republic of Korea, inviting stronger relations between Erbil and Seoul.

He expressed Korea’s readiness to cooperate with the Kurdistan Region on technology development and discussed the Korean International Cooperation Agency’s (KICA) capacity to help with electricity production and distribution.

He also expressed his government’s interest in helping to strengthen the public sector and said next month they will open a center to train public employees.

Prime Minister Barzani expressed his appreciation for President Moon’s letter and stressed the KRG’s desire also to strengthen bilateral relations between Erbil and Seoul.

Prime Minister Barzani said that the KRG will welcome Korean companies to invest in the Kurdistan Region and share their expertise, especially in the field of e-governance.

(Source: KRG)

Study: Niche Markets and Growth Sectors in Northern Iraq

Iraq, and in particular northern Iraq, is rich in agricultural resources. Recent years, however, have seen an over-reliance on the oil sector to drive growth. In 2014, deteriorating security and conflict in Iraq, coupled with a dramatic fall in global oil prices, caused a severe economic recession in the country.

The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government faced severe fiscal crises whilst millions of displaced Iraqis and Syrians depended on humanitarian support.

Through the Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is assisting in both crisis response and economic recovery, and is seeking to promote development by building a resilience framework.

With the security and economic crises affecting millions, livelihoods programmes can help to provide diverse and sustainable employment opportunities to promote economic growth. Agriculture programmes in particular have value-added opportunities to lead this growth. However, structural challenges remain an obstacle.

UNDP’s ICRRP evaluated the performance and potential of promising niche markets to map the value chains, identify activities that can be established or expanded locally and, finally, inform further tailored livelihood interventions to be undertaken within the selected sectors by partners, the private sector, and government bodies.

The analysis of niche markets provides valuable information in terms of the existing gaps, constraints and potential opportunities, including linking with existing initiatives and commercial interests. This will help to boost market performance either by establishing a new activity within the value chain that currently relies on imports, or by supporting and modernizing existing activities. This study has been made possible by the generous support of the Government of Japan.

Highlights

  • Demand for fresh flowers, decorative plants and greening of urban areas has grown, especially in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • Products originating from fruit, such as juice, dried/dehydrated fruits, canned fruits and jams are popular
  • The domestic fresh herb sector is small and fragmented, with the products mainly imported
  • Regarding all three niche markets, production tends to be small-scale, relies on conventional methods, and can be modernized to vastly improve productivity
  • All sectors offer employment potential for targeted populations: internally displaced people, refugees, host community members, youth and women

The full report can be downloaded here.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

How Iraqi Entrepreneurs can Raise Startup Money Without a Loan

By Hal Miran, Editor-in-Chief, Bite.Tech. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

How Iraqi Entrepreneurs can Raise Startup Money Without a Loan

Raising money for your business is always a challenge. Every startup must prepare and plan in detail how they intend to raise funds for their new startup.

In countries like Iraq, the lack of access to bank loans makes it more difficult for tech entrepreneurs to raise money for their company. This is made trickier by a lack of angel or venture capital money. So, what can you do to raise startup money without a loan?

1. First, look on the bright side!

First of all, looking for business financing externally should be your last option, not your first. When it comes to venture capital or angel investment, you give up a portion of your company in exchange for money and often, strategic advice and help. But, it usually comes with a lot of conditions attached.

2. Bootstrap your way to tech startup success

Bootstrapping is the process of financing a new company with minimal financial resources. It is the first method to raise startup financing that every tech entrepreneur should look into.

A great bootstrapping strategy typically involves using your own money and asking people close to you to invest. This is coupled with clever use of the money you have to make it go as far as possible towards your business success.

Where possible, use free resources and study how to implement growth hacking principles to accelerate your growth at minimal or zero cost. There are now so many incredible business resources online that are free and weren’t available for the tech startup entrepreneur of ten years ago.

How can you raise bootstrapping money for your startup? Here are the most immediate options:

a. Your own personal money

b. Ask your friends and family

c. Attend essential networking events such as hackathons and bootcamps to meet potential investors and make new contacts

Jordan, Iraq to set up Joint Industrial Zone

By John Lee.

Jordan and Iraq have agreed to set up a joint industrial zone on the border between the two countries, and asked companies on both sides to promptly put in place their visions on implementation.

According to Petra, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals, Mohammad Shia’ Al Sudani, and Jordan’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Yaroub Qudah, also agreed to form a joint Jordanian-Iraqi trade committee chaired by the minister of industry, trade and supply and the Iraqi minister of trade to follow up on the implementation of the free trade agreement that went into effect on March 15, 2013.

They also reviewed the list of Jordanian commodities that will be exempted from Iraqi customs fees.

The Iraqi minister said his country is also keen to further promote its economic relations with Jordan through increasing trade, especially after the reopening of the Terbil crossing.

(Source: Jordan News Agency – Petra)

Ex-Iraqi Minister arrested in Beirut

Lebanese security services arrested have reportedly arrested the former Iraqi trade minister, Abdul-Fallah al-Sudani [Abd al-Falah al-Sudani], who is convicted of corruption.

Sudani, who is wanted by Interpol, was arrested in Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (pictured) on 10th September.

In 2012, Sudani was convicted of embezzlement in absentia and sentenced to seven years in jail.

As a leader in the former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite Dawa Party, he served as trade minister 2006-2009.

After he was accused by the Integrity Board of corruption, he attempted to flee but was arrested in Baghdad Airport. He was then released on bail and later escaped the country.

(Source: GardaWorld)

6,000 Jordanian Trucks ready to use Trebil Crossing

The head of the Jordanian truck owners Mohammed Khair al-Daoud said on September 7 that about 6,000 trucks are currently at high readiness and are ready to transport goods to Iraq through the Trebil crossing.

Al-Daoud said in a statement to the Jordanian newspaper “Al-Rai”:

“… the Association of truck owners held several meetings with the Iraqi embassy to discuss the transfer of goods to Iraq through the Trebil crossing through obtaining visas and coordination with the competent authorities to discuss the process of transporting goods in the exchange areas”. 

He pointed out that “the Iraqi ambassador had shown great cooperation with the Union of truck owners during the past days” stressing that “in the event of the completion of security and technical measures, the Jordanian trucks will carry out exchanges of goods with Iraqi trucks during the coming period.”

(Source: GardaWorld)

IBBC Boosts Oil and Gas Capability

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has announced that John M. Scott (pictured) will join as an oil and gas advisor to the industry sector membership.

John has over 40 year’s international experience in upstream project management and construction throughout Africa, Latin America, UK, USA and Middle East. As an engineer, John initially worked for Taylor Woodrow in the Arctic and in the North Sea for Global Engineering before joining Texaco to run R&D in the UK.

He subsequently transferred to the US to head up development of major greenfield projects in Latin American and West Africa, including re-instating a Brazilian rainforest as part of a carbon capture initiative. He returned to the UK to join Amec Foster Wheeler before joining Petrofac as Head of Project Development.

As a representative for Foster Wheeler, John has been involved with IBBC since its foundation and has twice chaired the Oil & Gas Sector Table, so brings exceptional knowledge to both IBBC and the membership.

It is reasonable to assume that John will focus on optimising the value of the IBBC network of companies and ensuring the business chain works to the benefit of the IOC’s, the E&C contractors and the SME groupings in the UK and Iraq.

Having managed many different factions in his work, John is a natural seeker of consensus and clarity of purpose among business communities. The industry sector can therefore look forward to great insights and support as IBBC optimises its Oil & Gas membership.

Please contact london@webuildiraq.org for further information.

(Source: IBBC)