Popular Posts

Friday, 30 September 2011

Healthcare exhibition to open in Erbil

Iraq Medicare 2011 showcases the best and newest medical solutions and services
Erbil, Kurdistan - Iraq - The Kurdistan Regional Government's Minister for Health yesterday spoke at a press conference announcing the forthcoming opening of Iraq Medicare 2011, a major international healthcare exhibition in Erbil and the only trade show of its kind in Iraq.
Iraq Medicare 2011, the 2nd International Total Healthcare Exhibition Serving Iraq, is organised by International fairs and Promotions (IFP) and takes place from 4th to 6th October, under the patronage of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Health.
The press conference to announce the exhibition was attended by Health Minister Taher Hawrami and M. Fadi Darwish, IFP Iraq Manager.
In his speech, Mr Darwish gave an overview of the current conditions of Iraq’s healthcare sector and the ongoing efforts by various concerned parties to improve the quality of medical services, highlighting the role of the exhibition towards that purpose. After thanking the attendees and the exhibition’s supporters and sponsors, he added “The healthcare sector has grown tremendously in the past short period and is still expected to witness sizeable growth in coming years, taking advantage of several factors including government spending, as well as local and foreign investments. However, providing the technical and logistic facilities is still the most important driver for growth in the sector; it goes without saying that the more modern facilities are available, the greater the growth registered.”
Darwish then said “It is from this vantage point that we are organizing ‘Iraq Medicare 2011’ for the second year in a row, building on the huge turnout and official satisfaction during the show’s first edition last year. The show’s aim is to offer government officials and investors the latest equipment and technologies available in global markets to improve the quality of medical services in the Kurdistan Region and all other Iraqi provinces.”
The latest strategic five-year-plan by the Iraqi Ministry of Health had included a number of vital targets that included raising the quality standards of medical services in health institutions, securing medical supplies, developing medical centers across Iraq, improving first-aid and emergency services, and other practical aspects in public healthcare. The budget allocated to that plan is estimated at over US$ 6 billion and is accompanied by considerable growth in the pharmaceuticals sector, expected to be worth US$ 1 billion within the next 2-3 years.
In line with these stated goals and objectives, “Iraq Medicare 2011” will include a very wide selection of healthcare equipment and products, together with various medical services and solutions, to cover the needs of hospitals, specialist clinics, laboratories and other medical facilities. Visitors will include experts and professionals in the medical field, and will have the chance to discover a large number of modern medical services and technologies introduced for the first time in the Iraqi market, as well as several related services such as insurance programs, physiotherapy programs and many others showcased by more than 150 exhibiting companies from around 15 participating countries.
In terms of international presence, Mr Darwish said: “The show has grown by 40% compared to last year’s edition, thanks to the participation of more than 150 companies from 15 countries, thus establishing itself as the single largest event specialized in the healthcare sector across Iraq and benefiting from the support of several trade associations and ministries from the countries represented such as Brazil, Turkey, Iran and others, not to mention the official support by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi Central Government.”
The show will also constitute an ideal occasion to stay up-to-date with the rapid evolution of Iraq’s healthcare sector, where experts and professionals, including doctors, laboratory technicians, directors of hospitals and medical centers, as well as medical equipment distributors, will be able to keep track of future government initiatives in the sector by networking with officials and decision-makers looking for the best solutions and the newest technologies and services. In addition, the show offers important trade opportunities for international companies seeking to penetrate the Iraqi market through local agents, distributors and companies.
In closing, Mr Darwish invited all professionals of the heath sector in Iraq and neighboring countries to visit the show, highlighting its importance and describing it as “a growing pulse in healthcare opportunities”.
KRG.org - International Fairs and Promotions
PUKmedia   30-09-2011   10:03:11

Thursday, 29 September 2011

إقامة مهرجان ثقافي كردي الماني في أربيل الاربعاء المقبل

أعلن مسؤول العلاقات بالمركز الثقافي الالماني في اقليم كردستان، اليوم الاثنين، عن إقامة كهرجان ثقافي كردي الماني في مدينة اربيل الاربعاء المقبل، مبيناً ان المهرجان يتضمن مجموعة من النشاطات السياسية والثقافية والفنية.

وقال زيكي ميرخس في مؤتمر صحفي عقده بمبنى محافظة اربيل، ان "المركز الثقافي الالماني في اقليم كردستان وبالتعاون مع دائرة العلاقات الخارجية بحكومة الاقليم، سيقيم يوم الاربعاء المقبل (28 ايلول/سبتمبر) مهرجاناً ثقافياً كردياً المانياً".

وأضاف ميرخس ان "المهرجان سيكون ثقافياً وسياسياً وعلمياً ويستمر لمدة اربعة أيام، ويهدف الى تقريب بين الثقافتين الالمانية والكردية".

وأوضح ان "فرقة (الفورن-بلورز) ستقدم في اليوم الأول من المهرجان، عرضاً فنياً أمام قلعة أربيل، وفي اليوم الثاني ستقيم فرقة (فيرتينغ لوز) و(هوسدم) حفلة موسيقية في متنزه شانيدر بأربيل".

وأشار زيكي الى انه "في اليوم الثالث من المهرجان سيستعرض المركز الثقافي الالماني في بلدة عينكاوة (المجاورة لمدينة أربيل) تقريراً حول مدينة برلين وعملية الاعمار والتطوير التي شهدتها المدينة في مختلف الجوانب بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية"، لافتاً الى ان "آخر نشاطات المهرجان تتضمن تقديم دراسة علمية حول الديمقراطية والفدرالية ومبادئها في المركز الثقافي لجامعة صلاح الدين".

يذكر ان المانيا فتحت قنصليتها في اقليم كردستان منذ نحو عامين وتطورت العلاقات الثنائية بين الجانبين.

من: فرياد محمد، تر: احسان ايرواني

Capital Bank opens first National Bank of Iraq branch in ERBIL

Capital Bank announced the opening of the first branch of the National Bank of Iraq in Erbil, the implementation of the bank's expansion strategy in all Iraqi provinces, to provide various banking services to corporate clients and institutions and provide the best services and facilities for them.

The Capital Bank, which has accounted for 72% of the capital of National Bank of Iraq Bank of Jordan only existing in Iraq through the National Bank of Iraq to provide excellent services to trade finance and retail banking services between Jordan and Iraq.

The new bank opened a branch in Erbil d.Barham Ahmed Saleh, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the presence of Bassem Al-Salem Al-chairman of Capital Bank and the Governor of Arbil, Mr. Nawzad Hadi, Chairman of the Board of Directors and members of the National Bank of Iraq and a number of economic figures in the region.

With the opening of new branch brings the number of branches of National Bank of Iraq to seven branches spread over the three branches in the capital Baghdad and in Mosul branch and a branch in Karbala and another in Basra, in addition to the branch of Arbil.

Dr.Barham Ahmed Saleh, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government We are pleased to expand the National Bank of Iraq geographical spread to Erbil to provide services to the other provinces, and the fact that branch of National Bank is the only branch of the Capital Bank of Jordan, which is experiencing a city of Arbil economic activity distinct especially as they enjoy security, stability, and was sought by investors wishing to enter the Iraqi market.

Said Basem Khalil Al Salem, Chairman of Capital Bank, which is the fourth largest bank in terms of capital in Jordan, "The Capital Investment Bank in the National Bank of Iraq is a decision for the long-term strategic management conviction Capital Bank economic opportunities in Iraq."

The relationship that links between Capital Bank and National Bank of Iraq will allow us to facilitate the service of all businessmen and traders in Jordan to develop Jordanian exports to Iraq, the fact that Capital Bank is the Bank of the Jordan the only in Iraq, which combines commercial banking and investment through the Capital Investments.

Salem also confirmed that the National Bank of Iraq would strengthen the existing relations and investment opportunities between Jordan and Iraq, which is one of the largesteconomies 
in the developed world.

ERBIL ranked up 2nd tourist destination across the World

Gali Ali Beg Waterfall

Erbil city ranked in the second place in the world tourist destinations across the airline, "Cheapflights" after the British had grown by 504%, while the Turkish occupied town of Bodrum in the first place, Hawaii, U.S. third. 

Cheapflights site states (low cost flights airline) that "the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq is the second tourist destination globally, having seen relatively stable, and attracted businessmen," asserting "The high number of flights that have been conduct to the city, especially in light of evolution made in the field of hotel services and hospitality, also began to attract tourists who enjoy the bold. " 

According to statistics, which bears the name of "rising stars", the order of 25 cities in different continents. 

It said that "the number of flights to Arbil march progressed by 504%, while the top rate of Bodrum, reaching 971% and 110% Hawaiian." 

The report also stated that the Chinese cities of Hangzhou and Sapporo in Japan came in fourth and fifth place, an increase of 87% and 80% respectively. 
Experiencing the provinces of Kurdistan region of Iraq any Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk stable security remarkable, especially they are away from the bombings and acts of violence and assassinations taking place in other provinces, but not without a murder criminal is limited and cases of theft from time to time, at a time of border areas of the territory shelling continued from by both Turkey and Iran under the pretext of pursuing the Kurdish opposition. 

Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan is witnessing economic openness and wide to the world and in particular the neighboring country, which led to opportunities to attract investment in housing, construction and tourism. 

Alsumaria News / Baghdad 

Source: http://alsumarianews.tv , Translated Source: http://translate.google.iq

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

شركة طيران سياحية بريطانية تعتبر أربيل ثاني وجهة سياحية عالمياً

احتلت مدينة أربيل المرتبة الثانية في الوجهات السياحية عالمياً عبر شركة طيران "Cheapflights" البريطانية بعد أن شهدت نمواً بنسبة 504%، فيما احتلت مدينة بودروم التركية في المرتبة الأولى وهاواي الأميركية ثالثة.

وأعلن موقع "Cheapflights" (رحلات واطئة الكلفة) أن "مدينة أربيل في إقليم كردستان العراق هي ثاني وجهة سياحية عالمياً، بعد أن شهدت استقراراً نسبياً، وجذبت رجال الأعمال"، مؤكدة "ارتفاع عدد الرحلات التي تم تسييرها إلى المدينة، خصوصاً في ظل التطور الحاصل في مجال خدمات الفنادق والضيافة، كما بدأت باستقطاب السياح الذين يتمتعون بالجرأة".

وذكر الإحصاء، الذي يحمل اسم "النجوم الصاعدة"، ترتيب 25 مدينة في مختلف القارات. 

وأضاف الموقع أن "عدد الرحلات المسيرة إلى أربيل حققت تقدماً بنسبة 504%، أما المتصدرة بودروم فبلغت نسبتها 971%، وهاواي بنسبة 110%".

وذكر التقرير أيضاً أن مدينتي هانجتشو الصينية وسابورو اليابانية جاءتا في المرتبتين الرابعة والخامسة بنسبة زيادة 87% و80% على التوالي.

وتشهد محافظات إقليم كردستان العراق أي أربيل والسليمانية ودهوك استقراراً أمنياً ملحوظاً، خصوصاً أنها بمنأى عن عمليات التفجير وأعمال العنف والاغتيالات التي تشهدها محافظات أخرى، لكنها لا تخلو من جرائم قتل جنائية محدودة  وحالات سرقة بين حين وآخر، في وقت تشهد المناطق الحدودية للإقليم قصفاً متواصلاً من قبل كل من تركيا وإيران بذريعة ملاحقة المعارضة الكردية.

يذكر أن أربيل عاصمة إقليم كردستان العراق تشهد انفتاحاً اقتصادياً واسعاً على دول العالم وبشكل خاص الدولة المجاورة، مما أدى إلى استقطاب فرص استثمارية في مجالات الإسكان والبناء والسياحة.

هيلتون العالمية تدخل الاستثمار في أربيل نهاية 2013

أعلنت شركة دبل تري صاحبة علامة هيلتون العالمية للفنادق، عن افتتاح اول فندق لها في مدينة اربيل بكردستان العراق بنهاية العام 2013، فيما ذكرت الشركة ان فندقها الجديد سيكون موجهاً لاستقبال زبائن لوقت طويل، لفتت الى ان الفندق سيوفر 200 وظيفة للسكان المحليين. وقال بيان للشركة بحسب السومرية نيوز : إن شركة هيلتون العالمية تخطط لافتتاح اول فندق لها في أربيل عاصمة إقليم كردستان العراق وذلك بموجب اتفاق مع مجموعة كليرمونت للتطوير العقاري، ومن المتوقع ان يفتتح بنهاية عام 2013.

وأشار البيان الى ان فندق هيلتون الجديد سيكون بموقع استراتيجي وعلى مقربة من مطار أربيل الدولي وبالقرب من مراكز للترفيه وتجارة التجزئة، وسيوفر الفندق نحو 200 درجة وظيفية، مع إعطاء أولوية للعمالة المحلية.

ونقل البيان عن الرئيس العالمي لشركة دبل تري صاحبة علامة هيلتون روب باليستشي، قوله :أنا مسرور لنقل علامتنا التجارية إلى مدينة بمثل هذه الأهمية في الشرق الأوسط، مبيناً رغبة هيلتون في توفير مستويات عالية من الخدمة ومرافق ذات جودة في المدن النامية، وأربيل تعد خيارا مثاليا.

وأضاف البيان أن:غرف واجنجة الفندق ستكون مصممة خصيصا لتلبية احتياجات الضيوف في البقاء الطويل، لما ستوفره من خدمات لرجال الاعمال، من ناد صحي ومسبح وقاعات للاجتماعات ومطاعم. 

وكانت مجلة ناشيونال جيوغرافيك أدرجت كردستان العراق في لائحة لأفضل 20 موقعا مفضلا لزيارتها، كونها واحة للسلام والاستقرار وبها مدن تاريخية وجبال تكسوها الثلوج واسواق صاخبة. كذلك وضعت دورية الرحلات في صحيفة نيويورك تايمز خلال العام 2011، كردستان ضمن لائحة تضم 41 موقعا في العالم وشجعت لزيارتها لما توفره من امكانية كبرى في التعرف على ثقافات اصيلة.

وتأمل الشركة صاحبة علامة هيلتون ان تتحول الى شريك في قطاع السفر في اقليم كردستان، لاسيما وأنها تؤكد رصدها لحصول نمو في اربيل على مدى العامين الأخيرين، ومع تواصل النمو سيتطلب وجود المزيد من الفنادق.

واشار البيان الى ان :الشركة تعتقد ان حكومة الاقليم عززت من وجود بيئة آمنة داعمة للاستثمار، ما شكل حافزا للنمو المطرد في المنطقة والازدهار. 

من جانبه، قال مدير مجموعة كليرمونت ستيفن لاري :ومن خلال وجود راع اميركي كبير يستثمر في قطاع الضيافة في المنطقة، نؤكد ايماننا بقصة النجاح في كردستان.

وتدير هيلتون العالمية حاليا 53 عقارا في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وافريقيا بينها 36 فندقا في قيد التطوير. كما ووقعت الشركة هذا العام عقد 14 فندقا جديدا في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة والمملكة العربية السعودية وقطر والان العراق. وتضم اربيل حاليا عدة فنادق ذات فئة الخمس نجوم، بينها فندق روتانا الذي انشئ بتمويل عربي، كما فنادق اخرى عائدة لشركات معروفة قيد الانشاء.

واكد مدير عام السياحة بوزارة البلديات والسياحة في حكومة اقليم كردستان مولوي جبار خانقيني في حديث لـ السومرية نيوز ، ان قدرات اقليم كردستان في توفير اماكن الاقامة في الفنادق والموتيلات شهدت ارتفاعا كبيرا، ووصل عدد ا:اسرة المتوفرة حاليا الى 50 الفاً ويتوقع ان يرتفع بمرور الوقت.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Erbil hosts Iraq's biggest construction and electricity trade exhibition

KRG Photo

Last week Erbil hosted for the fourth time the Project Iraq construction trade exhibition, together with the Elenex Iraq energy and electricity show. This year's construction fair was the largest so far, attracting exhibitors from 20 countries and thousands of visitors. 

Project Iraq 2011, the 4th International Trade Exhibition for Construction & Environmental Technology for Iraq, was held concurrently with Elenex Iraq 2011, the first exhibition entirely dedicated to energy, taking place at the Erbil International Fairground from 19-22 September. 

At the opening of the exhibitions, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) ministers for Housing and Reconstruction and for Electricity welcomed all the participants. Minister Kamaran Ahmed Abdullah and Minister Yasin Sheikh Abu Bakir Mawati said that they were delighted that the trade shows are betting bigger every year, attracting visitors from all over Iraq. 

The speakers at a press conference to launch the trade show included Engineer Nahro A. Assadi, deputy Minister, Ministry of construction & Housing, Mr. Hama Amen Hawramy, Advisor of the Minister of Electricity, Mr. Aziz Abdo, Director General of Trading in the Ministry of Trade and Industry , Mr. Fady Jreissati, representing IFP Iraq, The conference was attended by a number of government representatives, diplomats and business leaders, and enjoyed strong media coverage. 

Mr. Jreissati gave an overview of the exhibitions and their importance, praising government efforts towards economic development and accelerated growth all over Iraq and in the Kurdistan region particularly. He expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in particular the Ministries of Electricity and Construction and Housing, for their support to the company's events, and commended the management of Erbil International Fairground, proudly underlining its cooperation with IFP Iraq. 

Mr. Jreissati also thanked the local and international associations, sponsors and partners for their support, then proceeded to talk about “Project Iraq”, mentioning that this 4th edition of the event was the biggest to date. “In previous years” he explained, “the exhibition has earned a solid reputation – locally and regionally – as a premier international platform for showcasing materials, equipment and technologies related to construction and the protection of the environment. Thanks to its strategic positioning, the show is proud to welcome more than 400 companies from all over the world in this year’s edition." 

“Project Iraq” is a part of several specialized events in the construction series organized by International Fairs and Promotions in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and Jordan, being among the most prominent trade-specific events in the Middle East region. The Iraqi exhibition in this series is quite the success story, as evidenced by increased international participation year after year and the presence of all local companies – almost without exception – working in the construction and development sector. In fact, 20 countries were represented in this year’s edition, many of which, such as Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates had national pavilions hosted by official associations and trade organizations. These included the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), the Iranian Ministries of Commerce and Industries & Mines, the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the Turkish Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade (DTM), the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Bavaria, and many more. 

The exhibition owed this huge participation rate to its success in widely opening the gates of opportunity for regional and international companies to penetrate the promising Iraqi construction and development market, especially in light of positive figures and projections issued by the Iraqi government or published by international economic bodies. Speaking in numbers, the Iraqi government has allocated USD 37 billion towards the development and improvement of a wide range of infrastructures across Iraq. Simultaneously, there has been a rapid and steady rise in housing and infrastructure projects in the Kurdistan region over the past year, whereby dozens of new bridges have been erected and hundreds of new roads have been paved as part of the regional government’s plan to update the infrastructure. This has prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to predict a very high growth rate for Iraq over the next 2 years, even exceeding the predicted growth of China. 

Mr. Jreissati then discussed the latest shows organized by IFP Iraq in more detail, saying: “In order to expand the range of business opportunities presented at “Project Iraq 2011” to participants and visitors alike, we decided to hold the exhibition concurrently with “Elenex Iraq 2011”, the International Energy Exhibition for Iraq covering Electrical Engineering, Lighting, Power Generation and Distribution, covering all the energy and water sectors’ needs from technologies to equipment, products and services, especially when it comes to large-scale projects in the public sector.” 

"This exhibition comes primarily to provide Iraqi officials and decision-makers in the public and private sectors with a greater variety of solutions enabling them to raise production capacity and meet growing demand. It also answers the needs of development projects in terms of technologies, solutions and services in electrical engineering, lighting and other fields, thus enhancing the capacity and potential of entrepreneurs and businesspersons to improve quality in their projects." 

In addition to a wide selection of electricity and lighting products, “Elenex Iraq 2011” included heating, ventilation and air-conditioning products, alarm systems and many more technologies on display by over 100 local, regional and international companies, thereby becoming the biggest trade event of its kind in the Iraqi energy market. 

The Ministry of Electricity in the Kurdistan region also announced its plans to raise electricity production capacity in the region to 6,000 megawatts in the near future, through the establishment of several new power plants in different parts of the territory. This plan follows the signing of a contract between the ministry and the Kirkuk governorate to provide 200 megawatts of electricity to the governorate, thus further increasing the region’s already rising demand. Previously, the ministry had signed a contract worth USD 40 million with an Italian company to renew hydroelectric plants in the territory, in parallel with efforts already underway on several projects aiming to rehabilitate existing plants.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hawler City Museum attracts few tourists

Hawler City Museum has a large collection of antiquities, many of them thousands of years old. Exhibits include a 6,000-year-old 

Neanderthal man and a tall statue of an ancient god. While the museum has an impressive collection, few tourists visit the museum.

The museum is on Qalinj Agha Hill, and it has three main halls, one of which contains Stone Age exhibits from Shanadar Cave. The pieces from the Urartian, Assyrian, Hurri, Saluki, Persian and Haziri periods are in the second section of the museum. These items are 2,000 to 3,000 years old. The third hall is dedicated to items from the Islamic era. 

A museum guide said only three to five tourists visit each day. The main visitors to the museum are school and university students during the winter. Few tourists visit to acquaint themselves with Kurdish culture and history. 

Haidar Hassan, director of Hawler Museum, said the lack of awareness of archeology and antiquities is the reason for so few visitors. He believes few people know the value of the items at the museum. 

The museum is open to tourists and visitors from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, except Fridays and Saturdays. Hassan believes the museum should have longer hours but it is not possible with the current budget. "The museum has received no budget for six years. The museum has only received funds from the province's development budget. For this reason, the museum cannot be open all the time." 

Shwan Abdulkarim, member of the Relations, Culture, Media and Archeology Team in the Kurdistan Region Parliament says museums don't get much attention in the Region. 

Abdulkarim, who has not yet visited the Hawler City Museum, said the government should pay more attention to museums to attract tourists. The number of tourists is increasing in Kurdistan Region. 

"Museums in Kurdistan Region face many problems, like the special law for archeology. It is unclear under which government department museums fall. It is not clear whether they are independent entities or fall under the the Kurdistan Region Government's Ministry of Culture and Youth." 

Tourist attractions in Erbil include the museum, the historical shops (Kaisari) at the central market, parks and the Erbil Citadel. The Erbil Citadel is being restored and has its own museum. 

Recently, an antiquities store opened inside the Citadel. Khalid Younis Mustafa, the owner of the shop, loves the items he sells, and has been doing it for 40 years. "Foreigners are the top visitors to the shop, and Arabs from other parts Iraq also visit the shop," said Mustafa. 

Paying attention to museums and historical treasures should be a priority for KRG so the Region has more to offer tourists. During the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of August, Kurdistan had 190,000 tourists.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Kurdistan to host 2012 VIVA football World Cup

Ph Credit: krg.org

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – (KRG.org) Iraq – Football organisers this week in Erbil announced that next year’s VIVA World Cup tournament will be held in Kurdistan for the first time. 

Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Head of Foreign Relations, yesterday met members of the New Federation Board together with Mr Safeen Kanabi, Head of the Kurdistan Football Association. 

The New Federation Board (NFB) is a football association made up of teams that represent nations, regions and other parts of the world not affiliated with FIFA. The association’s president Christian Michelis came with members of the NFB and representatives of the various regions that will participate in the 2012 VIVA World Cup. They came to Kurdistan on a fact-finding mission and to discuss the logistics of the tournament. 

Mr Michelis said that he was very pleased to be back in the Kurdistan Region and he hoped that football’s popularity will give Kurdistan more exposure throughout Europe and other parts of the world when it hosts next year’s championship. 

Minister Bakir welcomed the delegation and thanked them for choosing the Kurdistan Region as the next host of the 2012 VIVA World Cup. He said, “Sports can help to build a bridge of shared initiative even where there are few other areas of mutual interest.” He added that all sides can benefit from sports and was glad that the delegation had an opportunity to see the developments in the Kurdistan Region for themselves. 

Due to its sustained security, Erbil already hosts international football matches for the Iraqi national team. Iraq’s Asian qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Asian qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics are both taking place in Erbil. Mr Bakir confirmed, “The KRG is ready and willing to host the VIVA World Cup next year and will do everything possible to ensure a successful event for both the participants and football fans.” 

The Minister also briefed the delegation about the history of the Kurdistan Region and the importance the KRG places on hosting sporting events, so that people can see for themselves the progress that has been made in Kurdistan. He said, “This Region has witnessed significant and sustained improvements in terms of stability, security and economic development. The Kurdish people are always welcoming and embracing of foreign guests, and we have always been so, even during our most difficult days. We hope this tournament will allow the participants and visitors to enjoy Kurdish hospitality and culture.’ 

Mr Michelis said that the NFB will also organise a cultural event alongside the VIVA World Cup so that the participating nations and regions be able to share in the experiences of the Kurdish people. He added that he looks forward to working together in order to ensure a successful 2012 VIVA World Cup.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kurdistan, land of opportunity

By: Jonathan Guthrie

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c16e9174-e377-11e0-8f47-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1YV9Oq7RY

A new land of opportunity opens up every so often. Darien, Tanganyika and Iceland spring to mind. Iraqi Kurdistan is this month’s, though with greater justification than the previous three. Oil explorer Gulf Keystone Petroleum is ratcheting up activity there financed by a $200m placing and a proposed disposal valued at $300-$350m. A fortnight ago Vallares, the vehicle of Nat Rothschild and Tony Hayward, announced that it would merge with Genel, a Turkish oil group active in the region.

Kurdistan’s estimated 40bn barrels of oil is relatively easy to extract. But it was politically out of bounds during the reign of Saddam Hussein, whose repressions included gassing the town of Halabja. Following his overthrow, oil majors remained reticent because Baghdad politicians threatened to blacklist businesses that signed exploration licenses with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c16e9174-e377-11e0-8f47-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1YV9e5wOd

That created an opportunity for independents with no interests in Southern Iraq’s mature oilfields. GKP, for example, has access to Kurdish reserves stretchily estimated at 4.8-10.1bn barrels. It is raising cash to step up exploration and appraisal work.
But if you are planning to pawn your fob watch to buy into the Kurdish oil boom, hold hard. Baghdad and the KRG are edging towards a revenue-sharing deal. But they have not concluded one. The political risks taken on by resources investors remain substantial. Meanwhile, the long-suffering Kurds are shouldering the concomitant peril of a “resource curse”. Counter-intuitively, energy riches can retard development and democracy rather than promoting them.

Swedish Embassy Office to Open in Erbil

The KRG’s Head of Foreign Relations today in Erbil met Sweden’s Ambassador to Iraq, who announced that Sweden will upgrade its diplomatic presence in Kurdistan to an Embassy Office. 

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir received H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser and his delegation. The ambassador said that the Swedish government has decided to formally upgrade the existing honorary consulate to an embassy office and plans to appoint a diplomat to Erbil before the end of the year. He added that the Swedish Trade Council is now officially open in the Kurdistan Region and will be an important vehicle for bringing potential Swedish investors to the region. 

Minister Bakir welcomed the Swedish government’s decision. He said, “The KRG will be pleased to receive an official diplomat of the Kingdom of Sweden, and we look forward to strengthening economic, political and cultural relations that the opening of this office will make possible.” He added, “The people of Kurdistan will never forget the support of the Swedish people and government by embracing the large number of Kurds who had to flee the former regime.” 

The Swedish delegation, who were on a five-day visit to the Kurdistan Region, updated Minister Bakir on the success of their meetings so far and said that they hope to do more work together in several important sectors. For example, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and a Swedish company will very soon sign a MOU, which came about thanks to the hard work of the Swedish Trade Council. 

Minister Bakir highlighted possible ways of adding new facets to the relationship, such as strengthening cultural and educational links especially given the large number of Kurds living in the Kurdistan Region who have returned from the Diaspora in Sweden. Minister Bakir went on to brief the ambassador on the latest political and security developments in the Region and Iraq as a whole, as well as the KRG’s position on the latest issues in the wider Middle East. 

Ambassador Nesser spoke about the progress his delegation has witnessed in Kurdistan, pointing out the steady increase in the number of Swedish companies arriving to do business. He cited the example of Volvo appointing a local partner to help sell and distribute its products, and he indicated that the Swedish government views the Kurdistan Region as a gateway to doing business in the rest of Iraq. 

The ambassador expressed his pleasure at being able to visit the Kurdistan Region again, and he commended the Department of Foreign Relations for continually helping to strengthen the friendship between Sweden and Kurdistan.

Source: http://www.krg.org

Monday, 19 September 2011

Holiday Tourism Soars in Kurdistan

                                                                              Shaqlawa Resort,  Ph Credit: Rebeen Gozeh

Iraqi Arabs celebrating the end of Ramadan flocked to Kurdistan, which enjoyed a jump in holiday tourism thanks to soaring temperatures in other provinces and continued instability in Syria and Iraq.

The skyrocketing demand for hotels over eid was an indication of the region’s potential for growth, analysts said.
According to statistics obtained by Rudaw, during the three days of the Eid of Ramadan, more than 150,000 tourists visited Kurdistan’s three cities. The numbers were up 53 percent over last year.

According to tourism officials, Iraqi Kurdistan’s 25,000-person room capacity – the region has 350 hotels, 112 motels and 41 resort villages -- was under enormous pressure during eid earlier this month. Thousands of tourists had to spend their nights in their cars, mosques or on the streets, and 700 tents were erected for tourists in parks, said Herish Ahmad, head of the Hotels and Restaurants Union in the Kurdistan Region.

“We also asked hotel owners to accommodate as many tourists possible,” he said. “For example, if a hotel’s capacity was 100 people they pushed to accommodate 150 people.”

Ahmad said that while the region has built many new hotels over the past two years, the number of tourists during eid was unexpected and unprecedented. He dismissed claims that hotel owners exploited the situation by charging exorbitant prices during the holiday, arguing that some hotels did not charge lower-income tourists taxes or food in honor of the Islamic holiday.

Sami Ahmad from volatile Diyala province said he had hoped to spend a week in Erbil, but due to a sudden spike in hotel prices he cut his trip short by three days.

Still, Ahmad called Erbil “a beautiful and safe city. People are very nice and the resorts are very attractive.”
Abu Alla, who traveled with Ahmad, said hotel owners had raised prices during the holiday.

“Just three weeks before eid I paid US$80 for the same room, but now we paid almost US$170,” he said.
Dawd Suleiman, professor at the Sulaimani Institute of Tourism, argued that Kurdistan’s tourism market has room to grow. He said the region needs advertise on Arabic satellite channels along with building high-quality, moderately-priced accommodations and restaurants.

According to Mawlawy Jabar, head of Kurdistan’s tourism department, last year each tourist spent at least US$150 during the three-day eid holiday. He expects the numbers rise climb this year.

Jabar said Kurdistan is a free market economy and hotels decide their prices based on the quality of their services.

In the mountainous resort town of Shaqlawa outside of Erbil, some homeowners, including Nawzad Jamal and his two cousins, also decided to take advantage of the room shortage by renting out their homes.

“There were many tourists in Shaqlawa,” he said. “It was an opportunity to make some money.”

According to Shaqlawa’s tourism office, there are only nine hotels and 18 motels in the town, which is enough to accommodate less than 10 percent of the tourists that visit Shaqlawa each year. To solve the problem, they have given Shaqlawa residents permission to rent their homes to tourists.

Jamal said that he and his cousins made around US$3,600 during the three-day eid.

Mustafa Hussein, an Arab tourist who visited Shqlawa with his family of five, paid US$100 per night for one room.

“Shaqlawa is nicer than most of the Arab countries and has beautiful weather, but the lack of hotels have hurt this place,” he said.

According the Shaqlawa tourism department, of the 90,000 tourists who visited Erbil province this year, 80,000 visited Shaqlawa. However, due to the lack of hotels most could not spend more than one day there.