About Idle Potential and the Biggest Opportunities for Iraqi-German Cooperation
Within the course of the Hamburg Business Forum Iraq on Monday, June 17th 2013, the EMA focused for the 3rd consecutive time on Iraq and hence demonstrated the economic importance and the idle potential of Iraqi-German business relations. “German products and technologies, as well as German know-how and its implementation have a very high credit and confidence amongst Iraqi citizens and on the Iraqi market”, said Prof. Dr. Fahdil A. Al-Ameri, Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin. Despite enduring civil war injuries and political unrest the country contents the biggest investment opportunities for foreign enterprises within the EMA region.
In this Business Forum, more than 100 participants could exchange intensively about these very same opportunities. The b2b conversations during the breaks were encouraged by technical presentations and panel discussions from speakers of renamed Iraqi and German enterprises and institutions. Additionally, renown experts spoke about political, economic and legal frameworks, investment opportunities as well as financial security of business activities in Iraq.
In a welcome greeting, General Secretary of the EMA, Dr. Abdelmajid Layadi, pointed out that the EMA already focused on the redevelopment of the Iraqi economy when the association was founded in 2008. H.E. Dr. Hussain Mahmoud Fadhalla Alkhateeb, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin, accentuated the economic potential of his country that should be used efficiently especially in cooperation with Germany.
Martin Köppen, Director, Department of Energy and Economic Development in the Hamburg Ministry for Economy, Transport and Innovation, subsequently welcomed the Iraqi, Jordan and Turkish delegation as well as all participants which demonstrated implosively the strategic and economic position of Hamburg in Germany and Europe, particularly in terms of investment and trade with Iraq. After some warm words of welcome, H.E. Mohammed Abdullah Zain, Deputy Minister of Industry in the Republic of Iraq, marked a frame for the topic of the day delivering a speech about mega industrial projects for oil and gas in Iraq.
Presented by Dr. Alex Goehler, Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Hamburg, the first session was dedicated to the topic economic and political frameworks of business activities in Iraq. Dr. Barik Schuber, Senior Economic Advisor of the Iraqi Economics Network and EMA cooperation partner of the event, opened the session with an informatively speech about macroeconomic frameworks for business activities in Iraq. Afterwards, Dr. Stephan Jäger, Attorney of Amereller Advocates and EMA Board Member, expounded complementarily which legal requirements should be considered when investing in Iraq, encouraged this with the words: “Be aware of the risks and circumstances of doing business in Iraq – but don‘t be afraid and miss the chances!”
Subsequently, Dr. Fahdil A. Al-Ameri ascribed importance to investing in the promotion of research and development and informed about recent investment projects in Iraq. Prof. Dr. Sefik Alp Bahadir, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, completed the topic with his speech about the securing of sustainable economic development in Iraq. In a closing discussion the speakers answered the many curious questions of the audience.
To brace for the upcoming presentations, the participants could pick some tasty finger food from the buffet and had the time for further important b2b conversations during the lunch break.
The following session covered the infrastructure and construction industry in Iraq. Hosted by Dr. Stephan Jäger, Amereller Advocates, and opened by H.E. Mohammed Abdullah Zain, Deputy Minister of Industry, with a technical speech about the variety and the high occurrence of raw materials and its options for use in Iraq. According to H.E. Zain, negotiations and respective contracts with major corporations such as Shell, Chevron Phillips or LG are already signed. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Saladin Perababi, Salahaddin University Erbil, had the floor and firstly valued the EMA activities for German-Iraqi business relations. For Prof. Dr. Perababi the support of recruitment of staff in the region is an essential topic, as according to him it is the basis for the expansion of the weak private sector in Iraq. Eckhard Sost, Business Development Manager of GSE Lining Technology GmbH, then spoke about the possibility of adapting technical standards in Iraq and with this in mind called up for further meetings, in order to initiate more concrete implementation measures. Conclusively, Devrim Günçe, Export Manager of Knauf A.S., put priority on the human resources in his following speech. He considers a long-term small investment in a common project with the DEG and in tight cooperation with the University of Bagdad in a training centre more sustainable than a big investment in a concrete construction plan.
After a short break, President of the EMA, Adelheid Sailer-Schuster, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Head Office Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und Schleswig-Holstein, welcomed the exalted guests, the delegation and the participants of the Business Forum and took the opportunity to highlight the Iraq as one of the most promising countries in the EMA region for lucrative business cooperation.
In the third and last session which was presented by Prof. Dr. Sefik Alp Bahadir, Centre of Iraq Studies in the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Dr. Barik Schuber acted in place of the short noted absence of Dr. Thamir Uqaili, CEO of Petroconsult Canada & Associates, with an informatively technical speech about eight mega projects in Iraq for different economic sectors and industry with a scope of EUR 100 billion of investment costs. Subsequently, Rosanna Jering, Project Manager of Amber Consulting GmbH, presented her project for the initiation of public-private dialogue processes to improve further qualification offers for the automotive sector in Iraq. Holger Schmidt, Projekt Manager of M.G. International Transports GmbH, closed the session with extensive experience comments to diverse access opportunities to the Iraqi logistics market and transportation paths in Iraq.
Once again, the EMA contributed with this event to creating new efforts for German-Iraqi economic cooperation and the application of the vast potentials in Iraq. The high number of participants and the highly positive feedback opens the EMA a positive view towards an active future for German-Iraqi development cooperation and makes the continuation of the event very probable.