Toward the end of last month, the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development (AHCC&D) organised the 1st edition of the ‘Annual Iraqi-European Business & Investment Forum’, under the theme ‘Iraq and Europe: Cooperation & Growth’.
The Forum was held under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Iraq, the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hellenic Ministry of Economy, Development & Tourism, as well as the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture for Arab Countries.
This Forum was a result of the close relations and coordination between the Arab-Hellenic Chamber and its partners and main sponsors of this event, the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce and Baghdad Chamber of Commerce. Special mention and thanks go to AHCC&D BoD Member Jaafar Rasool Al-Hamadani, Chairman of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce, Chairman of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce and Vice-Chairman of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture for Arab Countries, who was behind the initial idea of holding this event in Athens, Greece.
The Arab-Hellenic Chamber takes pride in the fact that other Arab-European Joint Chambers joined in this event as supporting organisations and have contributed to its success. The event also had the support of the office of the European Commission representation in Greece.
The significance of this Forum lies in the fact that it comes at a time that Iraq is determined to move into a new era and revive and modernise its economy and create closer business relations with its European counterparts. The objectives and results anticipated are the creation of job opportunities for the Iraqi youth. This event was well-received, with the President of Iraq, H.E. Fuad Masum, being represented by his advisor, H.E. Sharwan Kamil S. Alwaely. Attendees also included high-level state officials and 50 Iraqi businessmen from all sectors. From the Greek side, the Greek Alternate Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Markos Bolaris, other state officials, Arab Ambassadors accredited to Greece, member-companies of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber and other business persons were in attendance.
The opening speeches by both sides emphasised the need for closer and greater cooperation and the creation of new partnerships. The Forum’s topics were carefully selected in order to reflect areas of possible cooperation and opportunities, especially for the Greek side. The first session was exclusively dedicated to ‘Iraq’s Investment Opportunities and Business Environment’, while the second, which was a joint session, was held under the title ‘Petroleum Industry and Sustainable Energy in Iraq’ with the participation of Greek and Iraqi experts. The third and fourth joint sessions, entitled ‘Construction Works and Infrastructure Projects in Iraq’ and ‘Transfer of Technology and Vocational Training’ had additional representation from European participants.
Discussions followed each session and B2B meetings were held between Greek business representatives and their Iraqi counterparts, which were highly organised and well-received.
The Forum closed with an official Dinner attended by Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Tsipras, all the Iraqi delegates, the Arab Ambassadors accredited to Greece and business guests from the Greek side.
The ‘Annual Iraqi-European Business & Investment Forum’ constitutes yet another milestone in the history of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber, in serving its members and the Greek and Arab business communities, towards fulfilling its main objective to enhance Arab-Greek relations in every business sector.