The High Representative to the UK on Wednesday announced that a major conference will take place in London in June this year to promote international trade and investment in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.
Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said, “The conference, which has the full support of Prime Minister Barham Salih, gives international companies access to the Kurdistan Region’s policy makers. Several Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) ministers are participating, as well as representatives of the private sector and regional and economic experts.”
Ms Abdul Rahman announced the conference at a Middle East Association business seminar in London on Wednesday, to representatives of more than 70 companies. She outlined the opportunities for British and international companies in the Kurdistan Region, in education and training, food processing, tourism and many other sectors. Kurdistan has a young and growing population with a thirst for knowledge, technology and consumer goods, which brings challenges for the government but also many opportunities for the private sector, she said.
Mr Paul Atherton, Chief Financial Officer of British company Heritage Oil, also spoke at the briefing. Heritage Oil has an oil exploration and production contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government. He said, “We chose Kurdistan technically because it has a huge, largely undiscovered, oil resource and corporately because it is safe, secure and stable, and because we can do business there. We have invested $100 million to date, and will invest another $75 million this year. Kurdistan can create significant value for both stakeholders and shareholders.”
Other speakers at the briefing advised British businesses to see the Kurdistan Region for themselves and to do business face-to-face, which is the normal business practice across the Middle East. Mr Dana Dougramachi and Mr Baisaran Naqshbandy of the Kurdish company Federal Group, and Mr Bob Haddow of British firm Middle East Minerals, all commented on the desire and need for professional and vocational training in many areas. Mr Haddow said, “The attitude of Kurdistan is that the population together wants to build a better future.”
The conference is produced in coordination with Newsdesk Media Group, the publisher of the KRG’s official investment guide; ‘Invest in the Future’. It was postponed last year due to the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary and presidential elections, and has now been rescheduled to June.
The conference is produced with the support of UKTI, the British government’s trade and investment department, and the Middle East Association which is Britain’s leading trade association for the region.
To register your interest in the summit, please see www.kurdistanconference.com