The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber said the visit paid by the Iraqi ambassadorial team in Port Elizabeth last week will help benefit the business sector in the region.
Iraqi ambassador to South Africa Dr Hisham Al-Alawi is on a nationwide visit to garner partners in a bid to help rebuild his country which was hit by at least four wars in the past 30 years.
The ambassador’s visit is part of a series of engagements in South Africa to strengthen the relationship between Iraq and South Africa and explore investment and development opportunities.
Chamber CEO Kevin Hustler said: “It was a privilege to host the ambassador and his colleagues and to hear first-hand the positive progress within Iraq, and to gain deeper insight into the tremendous opportunities that are waiting to be unlocked at an academic, cultural and business level to the mutual benefit of both nations.
“The delegation praised the city and all role players for appearing to do this in such a way as to neglect neither local citizens nor tourists. “The Iraqis also noted the vibrancy of the tourism industry, comparing the Friendly City favourably against larger centres.”
Discussions at the meeting covered a broad range of topics, with the Iraqi delegation finding the region’s Industrial Development Strategy of great interest, coinciding with their own country’s efforts to diversify their economy.
“The ambassador and his team noted many similarities between South Africa and Iraq, especially in terms of the challenges faced by the two countries, and the government focus on job creation, poverty alleviation, security and the provision of healthcare,” said Hustler.
Al-Alawi said Iraq was now one of the fastest growing economies in the world.