As part a major effort to boost its presence in Iraq, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has opened its first office in Basrah.
Later this year the Council will open another in Erbil, then Baghdad.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Basrah the IBBC’s Executive Chairman Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne said:
“I am delighted we have a hub for our membership. To do business in Iraq it is absolutely vital to have a base here. In establishing ourselves here I truly hope we will encourage British and international companies to follow suit.“
The IBBC’s new office is in the Mott MacDonald building in downtown Basrah and Baroness Nicholson added: “We are hugely grateful to Mott MacDonald, who are one of key members, for this fantastic opportunity to set up base camp here. ”
Thursday’s opening ceremony was attended by local VIPs including the Governor of Basrah Dr Khalaf A Khalaf, South Oil Company Director General Dhia Jaffar, members of Basrah Chamber of Commerce as well as the UK Deputy Consul Stuart Smith.
After helping cut the ribbon Dr Khalaf said:
“We are extremely happy. Hopefully this heralds a new era. We want the IBBC to help us build an iconic project in Basrah the people of Basrah can be proud of.“
The IBBC, which has just marked its third anniversary, has a membership of 40 international companies such as oil and gas giants, major construction firms, banking and financial companies and security consultants.
Earlier in the week Baroness Nicholson attended the inauguration ceremony of Iraq and China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) drilling operation in the Halfaya oil field in southern Maysan Province as a guest of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.
“I congratulate the Chinese on their steady growth in Iraq, but would dearly like to see more British companies in Iraq and other large international firms.“
The Mott MacDonald office is in an historic area of Basrah on the banks of the Shaat al-Arab waterway where many British businesses operated from a century ago.
Mott MacDonald’s Peter Hunt said:
“We are delighted to host IBBC and dignitaries at today’s event. We are hoping more British companies will follow.“
The IBBC’s next office to open will be in Erbil in the premises of another member UB Holding Company.