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.