The Governor of Basrah, Dr Khalaf A.S. Khalaf was guest of honour at IBBC’s Iraq Day Mansion House conference in London where he pledged to lead Basrah’s “ renaissance,” and make the port city the leading centre of trade not only for Iraq, but the Gulf region.
Dr Khalaf brought a strong delegation from the Basrah Investment Commission and Chamber of Trade. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s chief of staff Dr Hamid Ahmed attended along with Deputy Prime Minister Shaway’s representative Ms Sara Fou’ad.
Dr Khalaf said had it not been for the previous regime Basrah would be one of the great trading centres. He said it was his ambition to make Basrah: “number one in The Gulf”
More than a hundred delegates, including IBBC member companies and British government officials, also heard Dr Khalaf outlined ambitious plans to build a third of a million homes, hundreds of kilometres of new highways and bridges, power plants and railways tracks. Basrah, he said, will double its numbers of schools and will build new centres of higher education.
“Iraqi hopes and expectations are high.”
Keynote speakers included Lord Robertson of Port Ellen who said: “Expectations and hopes are high. Saddam’s miserable era is over. The damage of post war chaos is now history, a new Iraq is taking its place on the world stage.”
The conference was also attended by UK Science and Universities Minister David Willetts who praised IBBC’s new Education table and told delegates: “ The British government believes education and training is vital to allow the new generation of young Iraqis to gain the skills they need to engage fully in the development of their country.”
Please click below to see a video from the event: