By Eudore Chand
Gateway to Iraq will aim to shore up overseas business interest in Iraq
A major event to support the reconstruction and economic regeneration of Iraq will be organised in the UAE to create awareness of the vast investment and trade potential in the war-shattered country. ‘Gateway to Iraq’ will be a four day event from 13th to 16th June 2005 and will include a major trade exhibition, workshops and business and job opportunities seminars.
Iraqi authorities and US contractors in Iraq have made several attempts to get UAE firms involved in the rebuilding of the war shattered country. Despite being put on the favourite suppliers list, UAE contractors and private sector firms’ participation in reconstruction of Iraq is as yet relatively limited on security and regulatory concerns.
Government departments, like Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department and Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), have, however, stepped forward to help install systems and train Iraqi government personnel.
“Gateway to Iraq will help consolidate the solid bilateral relationship between the world and Iraq, in particular the UAE’s relationship with Iraq, and also create greater awareness of the trade and investment opportunities in Iraq under its free and independent futuresaid Faleh Hassan Al Naqib, Iraqi Minister of Interior. “We are extremely happy to see that key government departments are playing a major role in this project.”
PCFC, Dubai Chamber, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing and Dubai Naturalisation & Residency Department are supporting the event. It is being promoted by First Step. “First Step is glad to promote an event that augurs well not just for Iraq but for the entire region,” said Mohammad Al Ghabban, chairman of Al Ghabban Group and First Step.
“It will be a networking event that will allow participants to interact and discuss joint ventures to rebuild Iraq, and present the trade and investment potential in Iraq to the rest of the world. The event will also provide global companies a better understanding of the business prospects in Iraq and how they can offer their products and services to Iraqi companies and sub-contractors.” Ghabban says that Gateway to Iraq will be the first of many projects and events focused on Iraq’s rebuilding.
The organisers will host an awards ceremony to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions towards Iraq. The specialised seminars will feature a line-up of speakers who will address issues related to business and finance in Iraq, and will cover topics like ‘How To Do Business in Iraq’, ‘The Legalities and Procedures for Setting Up Business in Iraq’, ‘How to deal with security issues’ and also focus on success stories of Iraqi businesses and businessmen. Several Iraqi ministers are expected to attend.