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Iraqi Co. for Financing SMEs Tops $26m in Loans

Iraqi Co. for Financing SMEs Tops $26m in Loans

This week the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will reach a significant milestone in its efforts to support Iraqi businesses. Loans extended by Iraqi Company for Financing Small and Medium Enterprises (ICF-SME) to develop or expand small businesses will reach a total of $26 million or ID 30.18 billion. These loans to small and medium-sized businesses have created over 1,200 new jobs for Iraqis.

Founded in May 2009 with an initial $6 million grant from the USAID-Tijara Provincial Economic Growth Program, the ICF-SME program is designed to help expand Iraq’s private sector, as called for in the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework agreement. Funds that borrowers repay to the banks are, in turn, used to grant new loans. This cycle of repayment and new lending, plus additional money contributed by the banks has allowed $7 million of USAID grants to produce 1,374 loans averaging $19,000 in size for a total sum of loans exceeding $26 million.

“Iraqi businesses need enormous amounts of money to allow them to buy new equipment and expand, and will someday begin to compete on an international level,” said Managing Director Wisam Noori. “ICF-SME helps finance these purchases through bank loans made increasingly from loans that have been paid back.” Banks appreciate the lending program because it is stable, long-term, and can be obtained by eligible Iraqis at a low fixed rate of 10 percent, a rate substantially below prevailing market interest of 12-14 percent.

The nine private Iraqi commercial banks participating in the ICF-SME program are Gulf Commercial Bank, Sumer Commercial Bank, Ashur International Bank, North Bank, Iraqi Middle East Bank for Investment, Baghdad Bank, National Bank of Iraq, Mosul Bank for Investment and Development, and Basra International Bank for Investment.

Posted in 'Your Country' - United States, Banking & Finance, Industry & Trade0 Comments

The Battle for Iraqi Oil: Can There Ever be a Winner?

The Battle for Iraqi Oil: Can There Ever be a Winner?

The battle for Iraq’s oil goes on. Iraqi Kurdistan is intent on controlling its own oil, Baghdad is intent on wresting that control from them. Will the impasse ever be solved? Only if both sides see reason, one commentator argues in this article from NIQASH.

Ever since oil was found in Iraq nearly a century ago, there has been a battle to control the most important commodity the country has known. In the beginning, the struggle over oil played out between foreign or colonial powers. Then when the Iraqi oil industry was finally nationalised in the early 1970s, the struggle for control of the oil industry became internal. Today it dominates domestic politics.

Ever since the government of the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, in the north of the country, decided to come up with its own version of oil and gas laws in 2006 and 2007, the Kurdish and the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad have been on a collision course.

The Kurdish formulated their own laws because they were largely frustrated by the federal government’s inability to come up with such a law and to start to develop the oil industry. Iraqi Kurdistan then began to negotiate contracts with international oil companies and to move on without Baghdad’s explicit approval.

Since then the powers-that-be have been deadlocked, with neither side willing to compromise. Baghdad is refusing to recognise contracts made by the Kurdish region and threatens to blacklist international companies operating there. In return the Kurdish halted oil exports from out of their region.

In fact, it is only relatively recently that the Kurds have been able to control the oil under their own feet – and it is hard to imagine they would ever give up those rights, especially now that huge companies like Exxon Mobil and other major oil companies are lining up to do business in the region.

Posted in Oil & Gas, Politics0 Comments

Dunia Weekly Iraq Market Tracker

Dunia Weekly Iraq Market Tracker

Advertising Feature

Iraq Business News is delighted to bring you the latest Iraq Market Tracker report from Dunia Frontier Consultants. The market tracker highlights the activities and market performance of a basket of publicly traded firms who derive a significant percentage of their revenues from operations in Iraq, but are traded on foreign exchanges: a proxy Iraq play as much as practicable. It also identifies and analyzes the primary political and security events that occur in country that have market-moving implications.

Click here to access the report.

Companies Mentioned:

ExxonMobil, Total

Action Calls:

  • Sadr threatens no-confidence within 15 days:Not likely to result in no confidence, but may result in movement on some issues.
  • Exxon signs contract to drill 20 wells with IDC: Signals Exxon’s commitment to West Qurna 1, and tacit support at Ministry of Oil.
  • Our take on 4th Round contracts: Auction will only be first test for viability of exploration under fixed payments.

Headlines:

  • Qubad Talabani to return to Erbil: Most likely succession planning and sign of unity, but also signal to Baghdad?
  • Tensions with Sadr in Baghdad, Basra: Look to Maliki’s relations with Sadrists as signal of how far he’s willing to push.

Calendar Events Discussed:

  • May 23 – P5+1 Nuclear Talks in Baghdad
  • May 30-31 – 4th Round Oil and Gas Auction

Click here to access the report, or to add your email address to Dunia’s mailing list to receive the Iraq Market Tracker via email.

 

Posted in Industry & Trade, Investment, Oil & Gas, Politics, Security0 Comments

AAIB Launches First Online War and Terrorism Travel Cover

AAIB Launches First Online War and Terrorism Travel Cover

Anglo-Arab Insurance Brokers (AAIB) launched the first on-line global travel plan to include war and terrorism cover as standard at the Arab Travel Markets Conference and Exhibition in Dubai on 30th April 2012.

Marketed under the ‘Frontier Travel’ banner, www.frontiertravelinsurance.com offers insurance to travellers in any country in the world except the US and Canada and countries subject to global sanctions.

The new policy insures against accident as a result of war, invasion, civil war, riot, rebellion, insurrection, revolution, overthrow of the legally constituted government, civil commotion, military or usurped power, explosions of war weapons, murder or assault, terrorist activity and kidnap.

It was designed for companies engaged in the energy sector, reconstruction and development, media companies and even governments and their contractors.

It is the first time such a product has been available off-the-peg. War and terrorism can currently be added to conventional travel cover but only after referral back to an underwriter. This typically takes between 24 and 48 hours to arrange and can lead to a substantial increase in premiums.

The Frontier Travel plan can be bought on-line in minutes. It offers savings of up to 30% on current average prices and is available to anyone travelling in emerging and high risk markets, including security contractors and Journalists.

Because it can be bought on-line it is available to travellers from any non-sanctioned country, including those without a developed insurance infrastructure. It can be booked wherever there is internet access -even after a trip has begun.

The new product was developed by AAIB and its London underwriters drawing on AAIB’s deep knowledge of ‘frontier markets’ and the size of its war & terrorism book, which allows it to confidently assess risk and the minimum premiums required.

Benefits include up to $500,000 personal accident cover, comprehensive accident cover for riot, war terrorism and kidnap, emergency medical treatment and evacuation. The premium for seven days cover for a clerical worker going to Basra, Iraq with $100,000 AD&D and $500,000 medevac will be $41.43. Similar cover in Baghdad and Kabul is $43.24 and $23.34 in Kurdistan.

AAIB CEO William Wakeham said the new product is good news for any country deemed dangerous and any company doing business there. “Our Frontier Travel plan will aid the development of conflict and post-conflict countries by making it easier to do business with them.

He added: “We want to make life as easy as possible for people working in these markets. Frontier Travel cover will allow companies with people travelling at short notice to insure themselves faster, cheaper and more comprehensively than ever before.

For further information contact: enquiries@aaib-insurance.com

Posted in Banking & Finance, Industry & Trade, Oil & Gas, Security0 Comments

Harris to Provide Air Traffic Control System to Baghdad

Harris to Provide Air Traffic Control System to Baghdad

Harris Corporation, the international communications and information technology company, has been awarded a contract to provide a back-up air traffic control system for Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

Harris will supply a back-up Liberty-STAR™ Voice Communication and Control System (VCCS) to the primary Liberty-STAR™ VCCS previously installed by Harris. Featuring a modular architecture, open-platform software and commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, the Liberty STARTM delivers a reliable, scalable communications solution for ATC towers, airline and area control dispatch, flight service stations, and mobile shelters.

The back-up system at Baghdad International will be equipped with touch-screen operator positions, radio interfaces, telephone interfaces, and a System Maintenance, Administration and Reconfiguration Terminal (SMART) POSITION™. Harris’ in-country contractor will install the system and provide operation and maintenance training for Iraqi air traffic controllers and technical staff.

“This latest award expands the company’s presence in the rebuilding nation and provides Baghdad International with another mission-critical service,” said John O’Sullivan, vice president, Harris Mission Critical Networks. “The Liberty-STAR provides ATC personnel with a powerful, cost-effective back-up solution that they are familiar with, enabling them to concentrate on maintaining safe and secure airways in and around Baghdad.”

Harris has extensive experience developing mission-critical solutions that support civil and military air traffic control operations worldwide, including more than 200 customers in 50 countries. In addition to Baghdad, Harris has supplied ATC communications systems to other cities in Iraq including Basra, Taji and Tikrit. Regionally, Harris has provided systems to other countries, including Afghanistan, Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

(Source: Harris)

Posted in Telecoms/Comms, Transportation0 Comments

Opportunities in Iraq – A Conference

The British Business Group (BBG) Joint Committee in conjunction with UKTI cordially invites you to the Regal Ballroom at St Regis, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, 15th May 2012, @ 9am

The Joint Committee of the British Business Groups in the UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), with the support of UKTI, is engaged in initiatives designed to promote opportunities for British business in the wider Middle East/Africa Region.

This Iraqi Event is one such initiative of the Joint Committee, which was established last year with the encouragement of British and UAE Government and business interests. These interests recognise that the UAE is a point of entry to a very large market and that many UAE-based companies have a remit to exploit that market from here. The conference will enable businesses to learn about the opportunities from those with the knowledge.

The conference will be opened by H.E. Dominic Jermey, the British Ambassador. Others will address the business opportunities available in Iraq, covering Irbil, Baghdad and Basra, and how to take advantage of them.

Speakers will include Iraq-based representatives of UKTI, lawyers, bankers, security consultants and other professionals with direct experience of business in Iraq and, it is hoped, representatives of the Iraqi administration. There will also be a panel discussion with companies already doing business in Iraq.

After lunch there will be the opportunity for one to one sessions with the speakers and panel members.

Please see the attached Invitation and Conference programme for more information. To register for this event please complete the attached booking form and return to events@bbgauh01.ae

Please click here to download conference program.

Posted in 'Your Country' - United Kingdom, Industry & Trade0 Comments

Iraq Hits New Oil Export Highs in April

Iraq Hits New Oil Export Highs in April

Iraq’s crude oil exports averaged 2.508 million bpd in April, the highest level in decades, the head of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has announced.

The figure was up 8.3 percent on March’s 2.317 million bpd, Falah al-Amri told Bloomberg. Oil sales in April generated $8.8 billion in revenue from a total of 75.25 million barrels, compared with $8.47 billion from 71.827 million barrels in March.

The opening of two new floating single point mooring (SPM) terminals has significantly eased export constraints.

“Our goal is to export 2.6 million barrels per day, and we are about to reach this point,” oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP.

Iraq exported 2.12 million bpd by sea from Basra and 387,000 bpd from Kirkuk through a pipeline to Turkey. It also sent 6,000 bpd by truck into Jordan.

Iraq produced 2.89 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Exports gained in April even as the self-ruled Kurdish region of northern Iraq stopped pumping crude on April 1 through a pipeline controlled by the central government. The halt came amid a dispute over the sharing of revenue from oil pumped at Kurdish fields.

(Sources: AFP, Bloomberg, Al Arabiyah)

Posted in Oil & Gas1 Comment

Turkish Company wins $700m Deal to Revive Steel Plant

Turkish Company wins $700m Deal to Revive Steel Plant

The Director General of Iraq’s State Company for Iron and Steel has announced a deal with a Turkish company to rehabilitate its factory at the Khor al-Zubair complex, about 45km south of Basra, according to a report from Azzaman.

The plant, which was built by a french company in the early 1970s, and was once an important business in the area, has been idle since being looted following the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Abbas Jial said Iraq has agreed to pay $700 million to put the steel company back on its feet.

(Sources: Azzaman, SCIS)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Industry & Trade0 Comments

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