The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held Iraq’s first International Tech Conference in Baghdad at the Babylon Rotana Baghdad Hotel on 30 April, hosting government ministers, private industry, entrepreneurs, investors, and representatives from the leading UK and Iraq Tech companies.
The purpose of the Conference was to drive confidence, investment and awareness of the power of the new tech economy and how it can benefit Iraq.
The event – Iraq Tech Conference – was led by Ashley Goodall, IBBC’s Marketing Adviser. Keynote addresses were given by H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Mr Ashraf Al Dahan, Chairman of the CMC Board of Commissioners.
The agenda for the day comprised four panels: Consumer Tech panel, E-Government Panel, Business Fintech and a Consumer Fintech Panel.
Fintech in particular is making strides forward with the blessing of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), as Mr Waleed Eidi, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank, explained and encouraged the adoption of steps to include Women, those excluded from banking and the digital economy and young people.
The CBI is being ambitious in encouraging banks and financial institutions to modernise and offer new ways to distribute the flow of funds for investment and those who need it. This will also have a big impact on the overall economy and growth.
Ahmed Elkady of EY echoed the importance of Fintech as he led the Consumer FinTech Panel discussion onto technical infrastructure and what needs to happen to grow the opportunity for financial transactions. He was ably supported by National Bank of Iraq’s Eyad Mahmoud and Roger Abboud of Arab Payment Systems – who are modernising banking transactions – and Douglas Way of Almaseer Insurance – who are enabling business to reduce risks and transact insurance products rapidly and scalably.
The conference also embodied eight presentations:
- “How technology is driving the business and consumer world in Iraq and Internationally” by Zain Iraq;
- “Online Literacy” by Dr Victoria Lindsay, Country Director – Iraq for the British Council;
- “Automating & digitising BP and Iraq” by Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager-Iraq for BP;
- “Restrata Product Announcement” by Botan Osman, CEO for Restrata;
- “Five One Labs” by Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs;
- “Blockchain and AI – The Future Talk” by Muhana Almrahleh, Director – Head of Information Technology Advisory for KPMG (Jordan); and,
- “How Re:Coded are Training the Next Generation of Technology Leaders in Iraq” by Zahra Shah, Country Manager-Iraq for Re:Coded.
Attendees were able to enjoy one-to-one meetings and conversations.
As part of the Tech Conference on April 30, IBBC hosted an Evening Reception for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups at The Station, Baghdad, the evening prior on 29 April. The evening, planned in partnership with Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet, showcased the growing tech community in the country and gave an outstanding platform for some of the leading start-ups and entrepreneurs in a more informal setting.
The participating start-ups pitched their business in 5 minutes to a panel of seven judges composed by: Mohammed Khudairi, Managing Partner of Khudairi Group and Founder of Iraq Tech Ventures; Hal Miran, CEO of MSelect and Founder of Bite.Tech and TechHub; Richard Greer, Venture Capital Investor in Asia, Middle East, & UK and Philanthropist in Northern Iraq; Zahra Shah, Iraq Country Manager for Re:Coded; Ali Ismail, Co-Founder of Fikraspace and Co-Founder & Partner of Solo Creative Studio; Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs and Maryam Allami, Advisor for Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Through this first international Tech Conference in Iraq, IBBC aims to provide a foundation, a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq.
For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/
To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact [email protected]