Dubai to Host Global Iraq Finance Conference for First Time
Conference to highlight significant business and investment opportunities in Iraq
Dubai venue for Conference due to concentration of global financial institutions and status as primary marketplace for financing Iraq
Iraqi Central Bank to host Conference
Standard Chartered Bank lead sponsor
17 December 2013 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Dubai will host the second annual Iraq Finance Conference on 27 and 28 January 2014. Under the patronage of the Central Bank of Iraq , the Conference will bring together leading Iraqi Government and Iraqi Central Bank officials, including the Minister of Finance and Central Bank Governor, senior international bankers and finance executives to discuss the significant opportunities in the country.
The event is designed to act as a marketplace for delegates, attracting and aligning the sponsors of local projects in Iraq with international investors. It will additionally provide a forum for discussion around three major focus areas arising from the rapid economic growth and development in Iraq. These include the sources and financial structures for Iraq¡¦s major projects, the current state of the banking sector and participation of foreign lenders and the technology environment and its pivotal role in driving innovation and alleviating risk.
Dubai¡¦s role as a hub for global financial institutions seeking to participate in Iraq¡¦s economic and development projects make it an ideal venue for the annual conference. Leading global investment and retail banks and other financial institutions are increasingly using Dubai as their regional headquarters within the Middle East – joining High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and family businesses in leveraging its well-established financial infrastructure, its concentration of financial institutions and status as a regional business hub to deepen their exposure to the region¡¦s frontier markets. Significant business opportunities exist in Iraq¡¦s banking and financial sector – including the development of Iraq¡¦s capital markets and the Stock Exchange (ISE) – providing prospective business for investment banks, retail banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Iraq recorded GDP growth rate of 8.4% in 2012, driven by an improving security environment and foreign investment that has spurred economic activity, particularly in the energy, construction and retail sectors.
Commenting on the Conference and the aspirations of the Iraqi Central Bank , His Excellency Dr Abdul Bassit Turki Saeed, Chairman, Federal Board of Supreme Audit, Acting Governor, Central Bank of Iraq stated: ¡§The Central Bank of Iraq has commenced a major programme of attracting foreign investment into Iraq and paving the way for the entry of foreign banks and financial institutions into the country. The Central Bank is delighted to be co-hosting the Iraq Finance 2014 Conference and will use this landmark event to present the Bank’s strategies and policies for financial and economic development in Iraq, including highlighting the important role of foreign companies in the growth and development of the local banking sector. We look forward to the active participation of financial stakeholders and investment organisations in supporting the process of construction and development and in taking advantage of available investment opportunities¡¨.
Fifteen international banks currently operate in Iraq, alongside seven state banks, 23 private lenders and nine Islamic banks. Over the last year in particular, foreign investors¡¦ appetite for investing in Iraq has grown significantly. Standard Chartered Bank will be the lead sponsor of the Conference following the recent establishment of its first branch in Iraq¡¦s capital, Baghdad. Standard Chartered will be opening further branches in Erbil and Basra in a move to meet increasing demands from its global clients in the country in the oil and gas, telecoms and infrastructure sectors, whilst helping the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi Central Bank in a specialist advisory role.
In advance of his presentation at the Conference, Mr Gavin Wishart, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Iraq, said: ¡§The Iraqi economy is growing rapidly and the surge in oil revenues that will occur in the coming years will bring significant benefits for the country. To maximise this unique opportunity, a critical building block is the full development of the financial infrastructure to support a large economy and a developing nation. The 2014 Iraq Finance Conference is an ideal event that will bring together leading experts from Iraq and internationally to debate the challenges and potential opportunities in a world class forum. As lead sponsor, Standard Charted Bank is delighted to support this event¡¨.