IBBC Autumn conference in Dubai attracts deep engagement and discussion of the Protests
Over 100 attendees of largely Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members engaged in deep discussions and conversational at the Autumn Conference in Dubai this weekend.
As a backdrop to the protest and conflict in Iraq, speakers and delegates articulated the causes, solutions and reforms required to improve the situation in Iraq.
Distinguished speakers included H.E Mr Abdulla Ahmed Al Saleh, under-secretary Foreign Trade and Industry UAE Ministry of Economy, Dr Dara Rashid, senior deputy minister of housing construction and municipalities GOI, Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, deputy Minister of Transport and Mr Simon Penney- HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, along with Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Key panels included Middle East, economic trends and prospects – with particular reference to Iraq – lead by Professor Frank Gunter, Prof Economics Lehigh University –his presentation, outlining the underlying economic issues in Iraq can be found here IBBC Dubai 1Dec19 (2)
Joining him were Dr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, Simon Penney and Dr Dara Rashid – while the outlook for Iraq currently looks bleak, there was a marked degree of optimism on the panel, as the protests and prospective new government are seen as a potential spur to reform and change for the better.
Mr Christophe Michels, MD of IBBC observed:
"Following meetings with leaders of the protest movement in Baghdad last month, and despite the fact that the protests themselves led to a severe disruption of the work of most businesses, the protest movement is led by a multitude of civil society organisations who consist mostly of very young women and men, inspired by hope for the future of the country. It transcends religious, sectarian, class and gender barriers and appears to be crystallising into a new form of Iraqi nationalism."
Other panels covered Power, John Scott of IBBC chaired GE, Crescent Petroleum and Uruk engineering.
Infrastructure and Water – with a stunning presentations by Mr Hussam Chakouf of Zaha Haddid Architects, Dr Rashid and Mr Sean Gamble MD of RSK, who are undertaking significant environmental clean- up and land reclamation projects across Iraq and particularly in the oil fields around Basra.
Transport and Logistics, chaired by Ms Beverly Simpson Director of Department for International Trade at the British Embassy Baghdad, with Mr Talib Abdullah Bayesh, Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Jason Sutcliffe of Rolls Royce and Mr Phil Marsham CEO of Basra Gateway.
Alongside the conference a special newly active Women’s group, led by Samer Athamer of AMS Iraq and Agne Abramauskaite of IBBC which discussed the empowerment of women and development of careers, and a dedicated afternoon to the Tech Forum – an increasingly dynamic new member group, dedicated to promoting Tech in Iraq – Sponsored by Innovest, investors in Iraqi Start-ups, and led by CEO Mr Bassam Falah. The forum was chaired by Ashley Goodall of IBBC and ably supported by Mr Mohammed Khudairi of Iraqtechventures, with Mr Chris Ferguson Director and lead of UK Government Digital services, and Mr Alexander Hamilton of DFID, this panel discussed how to encourage the GOI to develop more and faster Tech initiatives and infrastructural support for Start ups and the Tech Ecology in Iraq, and to form a group within IBBC to develop these initiatives further – Second panel ( Educational Tech ) included Mr Timothy Fisher CEO of Stirling Education, whose team showcased their distance learning platform that is being trialled in their Iraqi schools, and is expected to be available to all schools in Iraq and beyond, ably supported by Mr Chris Ferguson with HMG UK examples of Educational tech, and Mr Hamilton of DFID.
IBBC is most grateful to the following sponsors, without whom we would not be able to hold these important events: Rolls Royce, Khudairi group and Severn Glocon group as Conference sponsors, and Basra Gateway terminal as reception sponsors, and Innovest as key Tech Forum and conference sponsors.
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