By John Lee.
Standard Chartered bank plans to expand operations in Iraq this year.
The firm's regional head, Christos Papadopoulos (pictured), told Reuters in an interview:
"The amount of economic activity in Iraq now is substantial. We always wanted to be onshore in Iraq. It was never a question of if but a question of when.
"Iraq needs everything from pipelines, power generation, infrastructure and housing. All this needs financing."
The bank, which currently has a representative office in Iraq, plans to open branches this year in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil, as demand for project financing booms.