UNATRAC have been in Iraq since 1999, an extension of their existing Middle East operations at a very different time. The move was prompted by discussions in the international community of lifting sanctions and an understanding of the potential of the Iraqi market. The company currently has 260 employees in Iraq and believes that job creation for local people is a crucial element of their Iraq success. The company is currently working on power generation projects for some of the International Oil companies. It is keen to be part of the solution to Iraq’s crippling power shortages.
One of the keynote speakers crucially reminded conference goers of the need to maintain interest in replenishing energy reserves. While oil is the boom that currently secures investment and conference goers, it is crucial that focus is not taken away from the need for economic diversification to secure Iraq’s long term future. The fear of some companies active in Iraq and committed to the country's long term economic success is the recent rise in competition from cheap poor quality goods. Sold without strategic planning and the supporting infrastructure the price is often the only deciding factor. The lack of value for money assessment and strategic planning has led to cases of goods purchased lying wasted and useless in Iraq. Ultimately this will cost Iraq dearly. Kurdistan is interestingly taking steps to bolster governmental capacity in bid evaluation. Both power and communications infrastructure are essential to economic progress in Iraq and speedy and substantial improvements are required in both. The conference and exhibition no doubt included businesses from both ends of the spectrum.
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