The Baghdad Business to Business Expo and Conference, the first major expo in Baghdad since military operations began in 2003, it was three-day event at the Al-Rasheed Hotel from 15-17 February 2008. Instead of signifying an end, however, this momentous conference has triggered a ripple effect across Iraq, the Middle East, and throughout the world. In the heart of the nation’s capital, a synergy of public, private, and international entities, forged by a common bond of business development, took a collective stand for economic liberty, and laid the foundation for a brighter future for Iraq.

The daunting task of coordinating with 260 participating companies, nearly 9000 registered attendees, and countless dignitaries and journalists, was a challenging endeavor, indeed. Despite armed conflict and widespread cynicism, Raad Ommar, the CEO of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IACCI), with its over 250 member staff, was convinced that the expo would spark an economic light in the darkness of post-Saddam Iraq. With an improved security environment and a renewed commitment to development, the time was ripe for growth, and IACCI was simply planting the seed. IACCI was certainly not alone in this vital economic enterprise. IACCI was able to assemble a broad-based coalition of support from the Baghdad Provisional Reconstruction Team, the Al-Rasheed Hotel, the Government of Iraq, and associated partners. Beyond the networks needed before the show, the most lasting contributors of this event were the new public/private partnerships, international business alliances, and reconstruction projects created during the expo.

By opening doors and shaking hands, IACCI is helping to promote working arms and legs as we strive to win over the hearts and minds!! Beyond the symbolism and rhetorical optimism, the bottom line outcome of the Baghdad B2B Expo for the Iraqi people is an estimated $300 million in business activity, several thousand new jobs, positive international exposure from over 80 news organizations, and countless new business relationships. For IACCI, the greatest reward came from a visitor to the expo, who simply remarked that IACCI could have placed the Baghdad B2B Expo in any U.S. city and no one would known it was Iraqi. It was that good! So, as the banners of the B2B Expo come down, IACCI would like to offer the following report for your perusal. After reading this report, we are confident that you will share in our assessment that …