Tag Archive | "Kurdistan"

The latest news from Kurdistan – security updates, reconstruction and more – brought to you by Iraq Business News

KRG Agricultural Output Rises


By John Lee.

At a meeting of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Council of Ministers (pictured), the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Abdul-Sattar Majid, presented the plans of his ministry to improve the agriculture sector, and outlined the challenges that face the agriculture sector in the Kurdistan Region.

The ministry’s ultimate goal, which is guaranteeing food and water security, was also discussed.

According to the report of the KRG Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, there has been clear increase in agricultural production, compared to the past years. He pointed out that some products’ production has reached a level above the internal demand, such as potato with 153% increase, and wheat with 103% increase. Other products, like chicken egg, with 95% increase, and vegetables with 93% increase, have reached close to the level of internal demand.

KRG Council of Ministers also decided to hold a special meeting, to be attended also by the Kurdistan Region governors, to discuss the abuse of agricultural lands that have been used for other purposes than agriculture.

Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed that all the ministries should take serious steps toward reform, cut their expenses and increase their incomes, and expressed the full support of the presidency of the Council of Ministers to all the ministries in this regard.

Regarding the reactions to the KRG decision to relocated all the Islamic studies under the supervision and authority of both the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Council of Ministers maintained its decision, emphasizing that it was taken by KRG in agreement with all the ministries and parties.

(Source: KRG)

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KRG looks to Enhance Protection of Women, Children


By Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Activists and government agencies in Iraqi Kurdistan have drafted amendments over the past few months to the autonomous region’s existing law combating domestic violence, introducing measures aimed at better protection of women’s and children’s rights.

Kurdish parliamentarians will convene with the sponsors of the two drafts next week to possibly merge them into one and then introduce them on the floor of parliament, according to Kajal Hadi Faqe, a member of Iraqi Kurdistan parliament’s women affairs committee.

The major draft was prepared by the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), a think tank based in Kurdistan’s capital city, Erbil, in partnership with the Kurdish government’s Ministry of Interior.

It includes provisions that protect women from undergoing baby gender tests, and being divorced or forced to abort the fetus in case it is not a boy. In Kurdistan’s largely conservative society, some families still maintain a preference for male children.

The draft also criminalizes depriving a family member from owning property or wealth. In some quarters of society, women might not be allowed to receive their due share of inheritance or to retain the wealth they generate as a result of employment or business activities.

Activists hope that the parliament will start work on amending the current law within the next couple of months.

Despite the ratification of a “progressive” anti-domestic violence law in 2011, violence against women has increased. The law went into effect more than a year later.

According to data provided by the General Directorate for Combating Violence against Women of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), around 2,600 cases of violence against women were recorded in the first six months of 2013. In the same period in 2014, the violations jumped to over 3,500 cases, marking an increase of about 30%.

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Genel’s Hayward may Step Down


By John Lee.

Genel Energy‘s chief executive has said he may step down as CEO as early as the end of this year to become Chairman.

Reuters reports that Tony Hayward (pictured) also told the FT Commodities Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday that low oil prices will trigger consolidation in the oil industry in Iraqi Kurdistan, potentially making Genel both a consolidator and an acquisition target.

But the Financial Times says he also predicted oil prices would soon return to near $80 a barrel, describing the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as “the most successful cartel in history.”

(Sources: Reuters, FT)

Posted in Oil & GasComments (5)

IFC Invests in Al Safi Danone Iraq


The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing up to $18 million in Saudi dairy company Al Safi Danone’s Iraq-based subsidiary, to expand its operations in order to improve domestic food security, boost Iraq’s non-oil sector, and reduce its reliance on imported dairy products.

IFC’s long-term investment, which is structured as an Islamic Finance transaction, will help Al Safi Danone Iraq, a pioneer in the Iraqi food production industry, increase production of high-quality dairy products to meet rising demand, improve food distribution standards, and create more than 250 new jobs in the next two years.

The company’s new greenfield dairy processing facility in the Kurdistan Region has a target production capacity of around 59,000 tons per year, focusing initially on a range of spoonable and drinkable yogurt products, as well as cheese and UHT milk.

George Abi Najem, General Manager GCC, Iraq and Levant, of Al Safi Danone, said:

This investment will help us establish a modern dairy enterprise with the latest processing and packaging equipment and train our employees to international standards.

“Thanks to this technology, the local market will enjoy higher quality dairy products at affordable prices. Al Safi Danone’s new factory in northern Iraq is just the first sign of the group’s commitment to Iraq, one of the most important markets in the region, despite its challenges.

IFC’s investment is part of a broader World Bank Group strategy to encourage South-South investments, while supporting the diversification of Iraq’s economy and improved agricultural production to boost growth. Food production and distribution will play a key role in transitioning Iraq from an oil-based economy to a more diversified one.

Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, added:

Our developmental role in Iraq is more important than ever, especially in providing funding to competitive companies in the non-oil sector and facilitating investments from other countries within the region into Iraq.

“We hope our commitment to this project will encourage other international and domestic investors to invest in Iraq.

Over the next few years, IFC is planning to step up its investment and advisory services in Iraq, investing $100-130 million per year, depending on the security situation, in priority sectors such as infrastructure and financial markets.

Al Safi Danone Iraq is a joint venture of the Saudi dairy company Al Safi Danone, Saudi conglomerate Al Faisaliah Group, French-based multinational Danone Group, and Iraq based retailing, sales, and distribution company Al Yasra. Its mission is to provide healthy products to support the well-being of Iraqi families based on a balanced diet that includes dairy products. Al Safi Danone Iraq is working to serve the Iraqi market with a range of products of the highest international quality standards, such as Activia.

(Source: IFC)

Posted in Agriculture, Employment, Industry & Trade, InvestmentComments (5)

Oil Exports via Ceyhan hit 420,000 bpd


By John Lee.

Exports of Kurdish and Kirkuk oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan have reportedly risen to 420,000 bpd.

According to BasNews, this is up from 270,000 bpd in March.

2.5 million bpd were exported through Basra, giving a total of 2.92 million bpd, down from the March record of 2.98 million bpd.

(Source: BasNews)

(Oil image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Oil & GasComments (6)

Extremists, Oil or Kirkuk? Kurdistan’s Next Big Crisis


This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Extremists, Oil or Kirkuk? Iraqi Kurdistan’s Next Big Crisis: Its Presidency

Several weeks ago Iraqi Kurdish MPs got into a fist fight in Parliament. The cause: Whether the current President could run for another term legally. Is this a democracy or a dictatorship? critics are asking.

As the Iraqi Kurdish continue to fight extremists from the group known as the Islamic State, and as they continue to argue with the federal government about their share of the national budget, there is another crisis looming on the political horizon.

On August 20, 2015, the official term of office is over for the semi-autonomous northern region’s President, Massoud Barzani.

Barzani, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s two most powerful parties, who is widely seen as a strong leader, has already managed to extend his term in office once. The move, which came in August 2013, involved what some would describe as clever use of legislation and others would consider undemocratic and verging on dictatorship.

The same debate is now surfacing again as locals argue about whether now is the right time to loose a strong leader and bring in someone new. Over the past few months other political issues had been put on the back burner as the different Kurdish factions achieved a level of unity, as they were forced to react to the threat presented by the Islamic State, or IS, group takeover of parts of Iraq. Now that consensus is disappearing as scrappy politics return.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, as in many countries, there is a special law that gives every person the right to be President for a limited number of consecutive terms; according to current laws in the semi-autonomous region, the President of the region may only remain in power for two terms. A term is four years. And Barzani completed his two terms in the middle of 2013.

Shortly before Barzani would have had to step down, the Iraqi Kurdish Parliament, which was dominated by Barzani’s own party and an ally, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, with whom the KDP traditionally shares power, invited him to extend his term for two years. This was due to a kind of legal loophole that said that because elections were not properly recognised in 2005, that the 2009 elections actually resulted in Barzani’s first term.

Posted in Oil & Gas, Politics, SecurityComments (0)

Oilfield Torched near Erbil


By John Lee.

Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL) militants set fire to an abandoned oil field near Makhmour and Qaraj, east of Erbil, on Wednesday.

Anofficial told BasNews that the oil field is located between Peshmerga and IS militants’ frontlines, about 2 kilometres away from Peshmerga forces.

It is believed that the oil field was set on fire in an attempt to provide smoke cover for the militants.

(Source: BasNews)

(Terrorism image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Oil & Gas, SecurityComments (3)

ZagrosJet Launches Domestic Flights


The Kurdish airline Zagros Jet has been granted permission to fly domestically within Iraq.

According to a report from Ruday, this adds Bagdad, Sulaimaniya, Basra and Najaf to its list of destinations.

The new service will start April 20 when the airline will begin offering six flights each week from Erbil to Baghdad.

Moafaq Sherwani, general manager of ZagrosJet, told Rudaw that the one-way ticket price was $120.

Iraqi Airways has so far been the only airline connecting domestic destinations.

Zagros Jet has direct flights from Erbil to a number of world destinations including Stockholm and Munich and Amsterdam. Flights to London will begin in June, the company has announced.

(Source: Rudaw)

Posted in TransportationComments (2)

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