As a result of Enterra Solutions pioneering work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Milken Institute invited me to develop and moderate a panel entitled Investing in Iraq at this year’s Global Conference. For the past 11 years, the Milken Institute has brought together an extraordinary group of leaders from around the world to participate in what has become one of the most talked-about and prestigious events dealing with global issues. With 3,000 attendees from 50 countries, it is the largest event of its kind in North America. The conference is dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, such as turbulence in credit and other financial markets, climate change, health-care financing, energy supplies and educational performance. Participants don’t simply discuss and debate the issues; they help move policy toward realistic solutions.
Speakers have included leaders of the largest investment banks and private equity groups; CEOs of major corporations; presidential candidates, governors, U.S. senators, cabinet members and heads of state; 40 Nobel laureates; portfolio managers of national investment authorities around the world; leaders of the largest pension funds and endowments; major university presidents; heads of foundations and private philanthropists; and other influential decision-makers.
At today’s session, I look forward to leading a lively discussion on attracting foreign direct investment to Iraq. The Milken Institute website describes the panel this way:
“Foreign direct investment in emerging markets is never easy. Investors wishing to build factories, warehouses and workshops are often greeted with red tape, lengthy procedures and hidden expenses. Solving simple problems, like obtaining operating permits and paying required taxes, can be cumbersome. And then there is opacity, which hides the way the wheels of government and bureaucracy really work. In a period of slow economic growth, these problems can make it especially difficult for investors to invest. This panel will explore real-world examples of how emerging-market countries can – and have – made themselves more appealing and competitive by ridding themselves of red tape and frustrating bureaucratic processes. Participants will discuss examples of what works and what doesn’t.”
The Enterra Solutions panel will take place today from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm. A webcast of the panel discussion will be available after 7pm Pacific Time and I invite you to view this at: Milken Institute – Investing In Iraq.
I was fortunate in being able to bring together an impressive group of experts for the panel and I’m most grateful for their willingness to participate. Panelists include:
- Dr. Zeki Fattah – Senior Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Kurdistan Regional Government. Dr. Zeki will provide his perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the region during this time of unprecedented growth. He has been an advocate of investing in the Kurdistan Region, and played a lead role in crafting the region’s 2006 investment law.
- Ambassador Charles Ries – Senior Fellow, Rand Corporation; former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq for Economic Transition Initiatives. Ambassador Ries brings to the conversation a unique knowledge of the commercial opportunities and challenges in Iraq, as well as the state of play in the oil and gas sector.
- The Honorable John J. Sullivan – Partner Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce. Deputy Secretary Sullivan led two business delegations to Iraq, has an intimate knowledge of the investment climate and will provide an overview of what opportunities are available for American business.
I encourage you to visit the Milken Institute at www.milkeninstitute.com for an overview of the conference and our panel: Investing in Iraq.