Rome, May 23rd. Presenting investment opportunities in Iraq to Italian businesses is the goal of the “Iraq Trade and Investment Forum” organized by UNIDO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose participants include institutional and business representatives from both countries, and during which 400 business meetings took place.
“We act in synergy to support growth and cooperation between Italian and Developing Countries’ enterprises. Companies act increasingly as development boosters and as valid tools for international cooperation, through strategies of win-win cooperation”, as Mrs. Diana Battaggia, Head of UNIDO ITPO Italy, explained in her opening speech. Then, she introduced the Iraqi Ambassador in Italy, H.E. Saywan Barzani, who said: “We have to encourage Italian investors to visit Iraq and work in loco . The future seems promising and relationships between Rome and Baghdad are excellent”.
“Italy aims at setting up joint ventures”, Under-Secretary Staffan De Mistura explained, underscoring that “Iraq has vast resources and able people” and that “despite the difficult financial situation, Italian industries have strength, energy, enormous skill and a desire to get going again”.
“Our country offers major possibilities to foreign partners”, told the Deputy Minister for Industry, Mr. Mohamad Mohammad: “geographically positioned as a bridge between Asia and Europe, rich natural resources, a skilled labour force and a hunger for infrastructure. On the energy front, the goal is to increase the production of crude oil from two to twelve million barrels a day, and regarding small and midsized enterprises, we have a very ambitious plan”.
“The door to Iraq is called Kurdistan”, Minister for Industry of the Kurdish regional government, Mr. Sinan Chalabi explained, specifying that “this was one of the safest regions in the Middle East, offering fertile farm land, water, a rapidly expanding construction sector and ample educational offerings”.
“Italy is Iraq’s top European trade partner, noting a steady upward trend in exports” recalled the MFA’s Director General for Country Promotion, Amb. Maurizio Melani. He carried on: “Large-scale works in Iraq are major drivers for the development of both local production and for Italian firms”, pointing out how, through its businesses, Italy had already completed, among other things, a transport and infrastructure development plan and a dam at Mossul, while an Italian proposal was being drafted for a refinery in Kerbala.