Iraq -- Accentuating the Positive

By Padraig O'Hannelly.

Yesterday in London, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual conference, this year under the banner: "Iraq -- Accentuating the Positive".

And in contrast to the prevailing media depiction of Iraq, the tone was indeed very positive, with a full house of senior executives, diplomats and public officials sharing their views and experiences of business in Iraq.

The following sound-bites will give you a small taste of the mood of the event:

"We are very encouraged by the new cabinet team ... the first words that [Prime Minister Abadi] said to me are 'we want to remove everything that gets in the way of you delivering your projects'."

-- Hans Nijkamp, Vice President and Country Chairman for Shell in Iraq.

"We have faith in the future of Iraq, both in the polity and ... the market."

-- Nick Archer, Managing Director, Policy and Network Developent, UKTI.

"We want British companies and other international companies to come and participate in the reconstruction of Iraq."

-- Dara al Rasheed, Deputy Minister for Housing and Construction.

But as ever, the availabilty of visas remains a problem, both for companies wishing to bring people into Iraq, and for Iraqis intending to visit the United Kingdom. This was highlighted by many speakers, and is clearly still an obstacle to trade and development.

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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