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By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

6 questions you must ask when obtaining a second citizenship

Citizenship programs offer people a chance to obtain a second powerful nationality that allows them freedom of movement and security for their families, as well as a better way to safekeep their businesses and wealth.

However, many people decide to apply for these programs without carefully understanding the fine print. There are important aspects to each particular Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program understanding them can mean the difference between a citizenship approval or a rejection.

Below are some of the key points to be taken into account when choosing a citizenship program.

Have you ever been rejected visas before?

This may be the most important question to ask before embarking on a citizenship application process. If your citizenship consultant does not bring up this question, consider changing consultancy firms as soon as possible. Any past visa rejections are a primary concern for governments with CBI programs and the application will result in a rejection.   The governments will deny the citizenship if the due diligence reveals that the applicant had been rejected entry to any country which shares visa waver agreements with that particular CBI country, especially when it comes to UK and Schengen states.

What family members can you include under your application?

Including dependents is common, however, it is imperative that applicants know who they can include under the same application. Your citizenship consultant needs to be well versed when it comes to including family dependents. Lack of knowledge in this area can have consequences and will ultimately result in delays and extra money which can be avoided with proper advice.

Dependents are children, spouse and parents of the main applicant or of the spouse who are financially dependent on the main applicant. Children must be enrolled in full time studies and proof financial dependency on the parents. Currently, only one CBI program accepts siblings of the main applicant or the spouse, these are unmarried brothers or sisters regardless of their age.  These unmarried siblings cannot be previously divorced and cannot have children in order to qualify under the same application.

Each CBI program sets its own regulations for adding dependents. The citizenship consultant should be requesting information on the ages of the children and parents, as each program has different requirements. The date of birth of the applicant is important as, at the moment of applying, they should not surpass the minimum age by law. Also, they should find out whether the main applicant is planning to have kids in the future, because some programs such as St. Lucia do not contemplate including newborns after the citizenship has been issued.

Is your nationality banned from applying for the selected program? 

There are specific nationalities that are barred from applying for some citizenship via investment programs. For instance, St. Kitts and Nevis does not allow nationals of North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan to apply for its program. Therefore, applicants need to understand what the options are for them. Other programs do not restrict any nationalities in particular and take applications in a case by case basis, the results will purely depend on the main applicant’s source of funds and a clean track record.

What are your future travel plans?

Each country has a unique visa-free list which can help applicants narrow down the different programs of choice. Consequently, when looking for the correct CBI program, one should know which country they will be visiting frequently. For example, Grenada is the only country with a CBI program that allows visa-free access to China. So, if an individual has business in China, they might want to apply for the Grenadian citizenship. Furthermore, a Grenadian passport allows visa-on-arrival to the UAE, which is a great option for individuals who have business in the UAE.

If to live in Europe is a priority, then Cyprus is the best option that any investor can look for. Upon obtaining a Cypriot nationality, applicants will be able to live in any country part of the EU. They will also have access to world-class education and healthcare. Cyprus also grants visa-free access to over 170 countries including Canada, Australia, UK and the UAE.

Most CBI programs allow visa-free access to the Schengen states except for the Turkish citizenship.

What are the main documents required?

Mainly each submitted file requires applicants to present basic documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of address and medical examination. These documents can be quite easy to obtain but difficulties start when obtaining Police Clearance from their country of origin, their country of residence and any country they have resided in for 6 months in the last 10 years.

Understandably, many applicants cannot obtain police reports as their home countries are troubled with political distress, so they must provide an affidavit, which is a legal document that clearly justifies the reason for not being able to obtain the police report. However, not all CBI countries accept affidavits, which in this case an applicant is required to present a local lawyer’s reference letter that explains the reasons for not being able to obtain the police report from a particular country.

What financial information is required?

Primarily, the source of funds is the most crucial aspect of the application. The applicant can have clean criminal records but if the source of funds is dubious their citizenship will not be approved. One of the Government’s main concern when conducting the due diligence process is knowing how the applicant has generated his or her money and support documents must be presented justifying the same.

Once the due diligence report is concluded, the applicant needs to make the final payment to the Government. It is imperative that the applicant makes the payment from his own bank account or his company’s bank account not from a third party.

Bank transfers can be a complicated process nowadays, especially if the intermediary banks are in the United States. The citizenship consultancy company would need to liaise with the beneficiary bank in order to present the required documents for the funds to be cleared.

When applying for citizenship it is important to do exhaustive research on the citizenship processing companies, before you chose, and carefully investigate their track record. There are a lot of options on the internet, even some of them are listed on Governments websites, however very few of these have thorough experience in overcoming the challenges that a citizenship application can present.

Source: Iraq News

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Startups in Iraq “to Multiply Rapidly”

Top Mountain LLC hosted the first annual Business Canvas Erbil conference which was attended by 120 participants and took place in the Dedeman hotel.

The conference was funded by the European Union and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ.

The event was also sponsored by GroFin Iraq, a financing organization that provides loans of up to $2 million to SMEs in Iraq.

The goal of the conference was to inform the audience about the future of economic development in the Kurdistan Region and promote the services of Top Mountain Business Incubator.

Throughout the conference, speakers and panelists reviewed the challenges and opportunities related to the job market and entrepreneurship.

During his presentation on the future of the startup ecosystem in Iraq, one of the Co-founders of Top Mountain explained that within the next few years startups in Iraq will begin to rapidly multiply and grow as financing and technical skills become more widely available.

This predication is based on the rapid growth in startups that has occurred throughout the MENA region over the last 3 years. Some of the key conclusions reached by panelist and speakers are that companies in Iraq must expand their internship programs to help train the next generation of skilled workers.

Panelists also noted that lack of access to finance is the most critical challenge to SME growth. Despite the challenges facing businesses in Iraq, most of the attendees and panelists remain optimistic and anticipate a bright future for Iraq’s economy.

(Source: Top Mountain LLC)

Source: Iraq News

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IBBC presents Iraq’s First Tech Conference

The IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) is launching a Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April.

The Conference is showcasing leading Iraqi and International companies with the intention of building confidence for Tech initiatives within Iraq.

Iraq is at a pivotal point in its development as it revives and rebuilds its infrastructure, so now is an ideal time to review the opportunity that modernisation and tech could bring to the country. IBBC is keen to support modernisation and its benefits, and to share what we have learned in the UK.

With political leadership, a positive investment climate and the talent and interest among young people and the right educational skills, tech can take off in Iraq, in the way it has in the UK.

The conference aims to showcase the best tech companies in Iraq, to give confidence and support to those on the way up and to change perceptions about the country and encourage investment.

IBBC Marketing Consultant Ashley Goodall says:

“We believe that Technological applications can enable Iraq to become more productive and efficient and a drive for transparency, a mechanism for government payments, a means to interact with citizens, and a source of new employment opportunities for young people.”

Christophe Michels Managing Director of IBBC says:

“We are all excited about the prospect of holding this prestigious event for IBBC members, the Tech Community and the wider people of Iraq. We hope and expect it will have an impact on all audiences to encourage a more rapid uptake of technological expertise, skills, and investment in Iraq.”

Leading Iraqi companies include: Almaseer Insurance, Inspire Solutions, Zain Telecom, Careem, Switch, Media World, Zain Pay, National Bank of Iraq, KRG, Onyxes, Re:coded, Five One Labs, Khudairi Group, Iraq Tech ventures, Arabnet, Central Bank of Iraq and many international groups such as BP, PWC, EY Iraq, KPMG, Finastra and many more. The Governor of Central Bank of Iraq kindly confirmed his attendance.

IBBC want to provide a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq. Come and join the new wave and help modernise Iraq.

The IBBC Tech Conference is taking place in Baghdad, the Babylon Hotel on 30th April with an Entrepreneurs event on 29th April.

For information and registration

To register to Entrepreneurs event on 29th April:

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq,org

(Source: IBBC)

Source: Iraq News

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UK announces £1bn to support Trade with Iraq

UK International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP has visited Baghdad for a three-day visit (Sunday, 14 April to Tuesday, 16 April 2019) where he met with the Iraqi Prime Minister and announced that UK Export Finance (UKEF) will make an additional £1 billion of support available for British firms operating in Iraq, providing jobs and promoting stability in the region.

In the first visit to Iraq by a cabinet minister for more than a year, Dr Fox will be meeting with senior Iraqis including the Prime Minister and President to discuss the bilateral trading relationship.

Alongside the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mehdi, the Trade Secretary announced that UK Export Finance is making an additional £1 billion available to support UK exports to Iraq, bringing its total support for the country to £2 billion.

The measure is designed to promote Iraq’s economic development and nation-building, ensuring that UKEF can continue to help the Government of Iraq deliver critical infrastructure.

To date, UKEF has deployed its existing capacity for Iraq, providing around £1 billion in support for projects including:

  • A US$35 million (£26 million) loan for the scoping phase of a water and wastewater treatment project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq provided by UK company Biwater
  • US$1.02 billion (£770 million) to support Enka UK and GE to build 2 new gas-fired power stations in the Basra region and UK-based GE Grid Solutions to build and refurbish 14 electricity sub-stations across Iraq
  • support for a €30.2 million (£26 million) Siemens UK contract to refurbish the 320-megawatt Al Mussaib power station in southern Iraq
  • a loan to support a US$220 million (£169 million) contract being undertaken by a UK subsidiary of GE to refurbish gas-fired power stations

This support is available to UK companies selling to Iraq or investing in the country and will help the Government of Iraq access finance for projects that source goods and services from the UK.

The International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

The atmosphere in Baghdad is one of optimism – it is a country which is having an increasingly stable period at a time of significant unrest in the wider region. The British government, working closely with the UK private sector and our Iraqi partners, have a key role to play in the country’s long-term prosperity. The £1 billion we have announced today will significantly strengthen our ability to do just that.

“Iraq’s future is bright, and my international economic department will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it maintains this stability, allowing the hard work of its talented citizens to flourish for the benefit of all.

“Trade is about more than economic self-interest, it is the means through which we deliver the mutual prosperity that underpins our collective security. That is the true prize of trade policy and promotion done right.

During the visit, the Trade Secretary will speak to young Iraqi entrepreneurs who are working to create a more vibrant private sector to support the long-term stabilisation and prosperity of Iraq. He will also meet British firms operating in-country whose investments are vital in the country’s rebuilding efforts.

Siemens UK is improving the electricity supply in Iraq using UKEF finance. Steve Scrimshaw, Country Lead, Gas and Power UK and Ireland, Siemens UK, said:

We are delighted this additional funding has been made available for ongoing regeneration in Iraq and look forward to working with UKEF and the Iraqi government on future opportunities.

“Siemens has already benefited from UKEF support for work on the refurbishment of the Al Mussaib power plant. This will be vital for the people of Iraq who will benefit from both the power and the jobs it will create. With work being delivered from our Newcastle business, it is also helping to secure jobs in the UK.

(Source: UK FCO)

Source: Iraq News

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Trade Bank of Iraq to open first Saudi Branch

By John Lee.

The state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) will reportedly open its first operational branch outside Iraq on Thursday.

Chairman and President Faisal Al-Haimus told Arab News that the new branch in Saudi capital Riyadh will also be the only active Iraqi bank in the Kingdom.

(Source: Arab News)

Source: Iraq News

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BlackRock Increases Holding in GKP

By John Lee.

US-based investment giant BlackRock has increased its shareholding in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) to 5 percent, up from 4.89 percent.

Shares in the company have risen 35 percent since the start of the year.

In 2016, GKP announced that it was in default on its debt obligations, which led to a restructuring in which bondholders took control of the company.

(Source: GKP)

Source: Iraq News

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IBBC holds 9th Annual Spring Conference

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London on 10 April, hosting officials from the UK and Iraqi Governments and delegates from the major companies operating in Iraq covering all sectors of the economy.

The conference was entitled ‘Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy’ and was organised in conjunction with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraq Private Banks League. H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance lead a high level delegation of Government officials alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mr Abbas Imran Mousa, DG Technical Department, Ministry of Transport, Dr Falah Al-Amiri, Councillor for Oil & Gas supplies to the Iraqi Minister of Oil,  officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Union of Private Banks and the Governors of Erbil and Sulamania.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan opened the conference alongside Alderman Sir William Russell, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak presented a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates received an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Britain Business Council and special awards were presented to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC as a token of gratitude for their contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

Dr Renad Mansour of Chatham House, produced a paper on ‘The present situation in Iraq’ which was commissioned especially for the IBBC conference.

Conference Sessions & Speakers

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chairman: Gavin Wishart, Consultant

Panellists: Dr Mazen Sabeh Ahmed, Central Bank of Iraq; Mohammed Delaimy, Standard Chartered Bank; UK Export Finance (UKEF); Ali Tariq Mostaf, Iraq Private Banking League; Richard Wilkins, JP Morgan

Stock Market & Investment Opportunities

Chairman: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taha, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; Abdulla al Qadi, Crescent Petroleum

Keynote Address: Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers

Oil & Gas

Chairman: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

Panellists: Dr Mark Wharton, Shell; Lawrence Coleman, BP; Bob Dastmalchi, Chevron

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chairman: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

Panellists: Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House; Prof. Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester; Samer Al Mafraji, AMS Iraq

The IBBC is especially grateful to the sponsors of the event: Shell, the International Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered, Rolls-Royce and Eversheds Sutherland.

Our Partners, Speakers & Contributors

(Source: IBBC)

Source: Iraq News

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Iran, Iraq forge ahead with Collaboration

By Hamidreza Azizi for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iran, Iraq forge ahead with collaboration amid US pressure

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited Tehran April 6-7, his first official visit to the neighboring country since assuming office in October 2018. Accompanied by a large delegation of high-ranking Iraqi officials and representatives of the private sector, Abdul Mahdi came to Tehran at the formal invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Apart from meeting with Rouhani, the Iraqi leader also met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and attended a joint meeting of the Iranian and Iraqi business sectors at the Iran Chamber of Commerce.

The visit came less than a month after Rouhani’s visit to Iraq — the first by the Iranian president since taking office in 2013 — in which the two sides reached a number of important agreements, mostly on economic issues.

Click here to read the full story.

Source: Iraq News

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Iraq GDP Growth to Hit 8.1%

By John Lee.

A new report from the World Bank Group forecasts real GDP growth (at constant market prices) of 2.8 percent this year in Iraq, increasing to 8.1 percent next year:

Iraq’s economy is gradually picking up following the deep economic strains of the last four years. Real GDP is estimated to have grown by 0.6 percent in 2018, thanks to a notable improvement in security conditions and higher oil prices, reversing the contraction of 1.7 percent seen in 2017.

The non-oil economy picked up speed and grew at 4 percent, while oil production was slightly less than 2017 in line with the OPEC+ agreement. Recently, the Iraqi economy has received a boost of confidence with the signing of several trade agreements with its neighbors.

Reconstruction efforts have been proceeding at a moderate pace. Inflation remained low at 0.4 percent in 2018, but slightly up from 2017, due to higher domestic demand in addition to rising food and transportation costs.

The economic outlook has improved due to higher oil prices and improving security situation, but constraints on capital spending will impede a recovery-driven growth acceleration. Growth is expected to spike to 8.1 percent in 2020 due mainly to higher oil output, with OPEC+ agreement coming to an end in mid- 2019.

Non-oil growth is expected to remain positive on the back of higher investment needed to rebuild the country’s damaged infrastructure network, private consumption and investment. However, the recently approved 2019 budget presents a sizable increase in recurrent spending, and unless there is a significant reorientation in fiscal policy to a comprehensive recovery approach, there will be limited fiscal space to sustain post-war recovery and longer-term development.

Higher spending together with easing oil prices will result in a high fiscal deficit projected at 5.4 percent of GDP in 2019 before narrowing down to about 3 percent throughout 2020-2021.

Lower oil prices and increased imports will cause the current account balance to turn into deficit, financed partially by international reserves decumulation.

Click here to download the full report.

Source: Iraq News

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