The Chairman of the Baghdad Investment Commission, Shaker A. Shabib, spoke recently with Padraig O'Hannelly for Iraq Business News, and outlined the opportunities available in Iraq's capital:
Iraq Business News: I'd like to ask you firstly about the opportunities that are available in Baghdad; we hear a lot about the oil producing regions, but what are the main opportunities for investors in the Baghdad area?
Shakar A. Shabib: There are various opportunities for investors in Baghdad, including production of raw materials for construction, such as bricks and cement.
But also there are some areas of Baghdad where oilfields have been discovered. The area from the east to the south of Baghdad has the potential to produce about 60,000 barrels of oil per day.
There is also potential for industrial projects and factories in sectors including construction, education, health, communications, tourism, and so on.
IBN: And those factories, are they former state industries that will be privatised, or are they already in the private sector.
SS: Basically they are existing factories that can be rehabilitated, and investors can do that, but also there is another area which is allocated to companies which would like to invest in all kinds of industries, such as food, cement factories, steel factories, etc., on terms that are very attractive for investors.
IBN: We all know about electricity shortages in Iraq generally; to what extent is the electricity problem a factor in Baghdad?
SS: Baghdad has a 40% shortage of electricity, as in other cities in Iraq, but recently some projects for investment in Baghdad's electricity have been announced, and the Ministry of Electricity will buy any production from the investors. When it comes to selling them the power, these projects are mainly under the umbrella of the Ministry of Electricity, but in the meantime companies can talk to the BIC.