Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) unveils new HQ

By John Lee.

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has officially opened its new headquarters in Baghdad.

Located on Al Rasheed Street in the heart of Baghdad, the new headquarters is wholly owned by the bank and is designed to facilitate collaboration, bringing 670 Baghdad-based employees of TBI under one roof for the first time.

The building comprises of 5 floors with the ground floor set to provide banking services to customers while the remaining floors are dedicated to administrative work.

The TBI also recently opened its first operational branch outside Iraq, in Saudi Arabia.

(Source: TBI)


Source: Iraq News

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By John Lee.

The state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India-based ESDS Software Solution to develop financial technology and a cloud platform in Iraq.

According to Zawya, Alpen Capital (ME) Limited acted as the sole advisor for the transaction between the two firms, which aims to “establish a long-term strategic relationship in the field of establishing and managing data centre, cloud solutions and virtualization and disaster recovery hosting solutions, financial technology solutions and other Information Technology services in Iraq“.

Faisal Al Haimus, Chairman and President of TBI, is quoted as saying:

“This is indeed a landmark association and we believe our combined synergies will allow us to make significant strides in the area of fintech and technology advancement. This is the latest in a number of strategic agreements we have made with leading firms in the region to help rebuild, develop and modernise Iraq.”

(Source: Zawya)


Source: Iraq News

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By John Lee.

Iraq’s Minister of Transport, Abdullah Luaibi [Abdul Allah al-Leibi], has said that Iraq is actively seeking to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative [“One Belt, One Road (OBOR)“].

In statements on Monday, the Ministry confirmed that the Minister met with China’s Ambassador to Iraq, Zhang Tao, to discuss the plan.

It added that Iraq wants to accelerate the process of joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

(Source: Ministry of Transport)


Source: Iraq News

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$1bn Japanese Financing for Basrah Refinery

JICA to Support Iraq’s Reconstruction and Revitalization through Upgrade of Basrah Refinery

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement for Iraq

On 16 June, 2019, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government signed a loan agreement at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

The ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan amounting to JPY 110,000 million (approximately USD 1 billion) will be used for Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project. The loan agreement was signed by H.E. Mr. Fuad Mohammed Hussein, Minister of Finance and Masayuki Hirosawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Hamid Younis Salih, Deputy Minister of Oil and H.E. Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq. This concessional ODA loan aims to support the Government of Iraq in its efforts to reconstruct the country and revitalize its economy.

The loan named “Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project (II)” is the second tranche loan for Basrah Refinery Upgrading Project, one of the mega projects known in the region. For the same project, JICA previously concluded two loan agreements for (i) the engineering services loan in the amount of JPY 2,079 million and (ii) the first tranche loan in the amount of JPY 42,435 million.

The entire project aims to increase the quantity and quality of oil products including gasoline, diesel and kerosene, by installing a new refining plant called Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Complex in Basrah Refinery, which is one of the biggest oil refineries currently operational in Iraq. It will be implemented by South Refineries Company, Ministry of Oil.

Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves and is currently OPEC’s second-largest producer. Nevertheless, most of the existing refineries in the country have been shut down or decreased their production capacity, suffered from damages and deterioration in the previous decades of conflicts. Many of the plans to construct new refineries have faced with challenges and delays and are yet to achieve substantial increase of the refining capacity.

On the contrary, the ongoing reconstruction efforts in liberated areas and the revitalization of socio-economic activities across the country have prompted huge demand for fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. As a result, despite being one of the largest oil producers, Iraq has no choice but to import the significant amount of oil products from neighboring countries so as to meet the demand for transport, power generation and industrial production.

Against this backdrop, the project to construct Iraq’s first-ever FCC Complex will increase the volume of the high-value added oil products, promote the transfer of refining technologies from Japan and help save valuable foreign currencies to import huge amount of fuels. The new plant will also reduce sulfur content in the products in accordance with the international environmental standards. Furthermore, the project is expected to pave the way for energizing private sector involvement in the downstream of Iraq’s energy industry and provide economic opportunities for the people of Iraq, especially in Basrah.

The loan is very concessional with the low interest rate and long repayment period: the interest rate of 0.20% and the repayment period of 40 years including 10-year grace period.

(Source: JICA)


Source: Iraq News

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By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Insurance is a complicated business, and as economies develop they demand more of it.

This brings challenges, such as how to assess claims when the skills are not readily available locally, how to satisfy reinsurers that risks have been correctly priced and losses properly assessed, and how to develop lower-premium business without driving up costs.

One Iraqi insurer believes fintech assists in providing the solution to several complex issues.

Al Maseer Insurance was founded by Chairman Arak al-Bayati and CEO Sarah Safa Kasim in 2011, with the aim of bringing innovation, knowledge and global skillsets to the insurance sector in Iraq.

As Chief Underwriting Officer Douglas Way told the recent IBBC Technology Conference in Baghdad:

“Iraq is a challenging market for insurance, to put it bluntly; there are some extremely large risks in Iraq, which require very large reinsurance, which is where fintech solutions come to the fore.

When a proposition is difficult, rather than just saying ‘no’, we find a way to make it happen, and increasingly that involves the use of imaginative and cutting edge technology.”

For example, the company is currently working with Virtual i, which enables it to use experts located remotely to carry out detailed surveys on the ground in Iraq.

Just taking a photo and ticking a box is not sufficient to satisfy reinsurers,” Way explains, adding that using this system also helps to up-skill local Iraqis. “We are very much committed to providing the highest level of service, and very committed to using Iraqi people to do that.

Similarly at the low-premium end of the market, the use of mobile devices and automated systems is helping to strip out the costs of processing applications and claims, enabling new business to be written.

When I visited their offices in Baghdad’s Al Mansour district, CEO Sarah Safa Kasim and her team were busily expanding to serve a growing base of international and domestic clients.

Kasim also took me on a virtual tour of their impressive new HQ, designed by Mutaa Al Hashimi, which will be ready in 2022:

“We’re investing in the right people, the right technology and the right facilities – we’re very confident that Iraq can look forward to a bright future.”


Source: Iraq News

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