At a major Iraqi business event on Monday, there was a strong sense that Iraq’s fortunes are turning a corner, with the Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Da’esh) on the retreat, and substantial export funding newly available for projects in the country.
More than 250 delegates attended the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC)‘s Spring Conference in London, with half of those flying in from Iraq.
Amongst detailed discussions on topics such as energy, finance and technology, several soundbites captured the overall mood of the conference:
“Confidence has returned to Baghdad — it is in the air! Baghdad is confident again, and it’s absolutely wonderful.”
— Baroness Emma Nicholson (pictured), UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq.
“I am confident that Iraq is recovering.”
— Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London.
“Despite … challenges, I do believe that the trajectory for Iraq is upwards … Don’t be shy in suggesting projects.”
— Frank Baker OBE, British Ambassador to Iraq.
The IBBC Spring Conference focused on the rising confidence of Iraq’s private sector, bringing to attention liberated areas open to investment, and discussing new areas for expansion, such as infrastructure and technology.