Baroness Nicholson – Opening Speech at IBBC Conference

We are enormously grateful to our member the International Islamic Bank in particular for being today’s principal sponsor. The International Islamic Bank has only recently been established as a new private bank in Iraq and I am confident that it will flourish and prosper to become a leading bank in Iraq and beyond. I also thank Weir Group, SKA International and Gulftainer as members for their support and sponsorship today, and a non-member The Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation who will be telling us about their work in financing smaller private enterprise schemes in Iraq.

Without the support of our sponsors and the good will and backing of all of our members it would not be possible to hold this conference today.

I also thank the IMF and World Finance Corporation and through it the World Bank for supporting this conference and substantially contributing to its agenda.

All of our speakers are very busy people and I am enormously grateful to them all for supporting us today and I know the revised date will have meant some diary changes for them. Thank you all for participating and for all the time you will have spent on preparing your presentations.

An update on IBBC

I have recently retired as Executive Chairman of Iraq Britain Business Council and have become President of the Organisation. I am very pleased that Mr Mohammed Charchafchi has taken on the chairmanship at the helm of IBBC. In the same time Christophe Michels, who supported Mr Charchafchi and myself in setting up IBBC as a non for profit company in the UK and an NGO in Iraq in 2009 has become Managing Director.

If I may I would like to update you on IBBC and its activities since the Spring Conference in London.

We currently have fifty five members and though we have lost a number of smaller members over the last six months as they reduced their business activities in Iraq we have recently been pleased to admit to membership five new companies of the highest standing in the region. They are Dar Al –Handasah Shair and Partners, GE, Khudairi Group, Marubeni – Itochu Tubulars PLC and Petronas.

They are all most welcome. Pell Frischmann a well known UK architectural and engineering practice has submitted its application for Membership just prior to our departure to Dubai, and I expect more British, Iraqi and International Companies to become part of the Council in coming months.

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