France opens business center in Iraq

09 Jul 2010

(MENAFN) France is planning to tap investment opportunities in Iraq by building a heavily fortified business centre and boutique hotel where businessmen can sleep, eat and work in safety, Reuters reported.

The complex financed by private companies near its embassy in Baghdad’s once glamorous Abu Nawas neighbourhood has room for 20 offices — half of which have already been claimed by major firms – and 10 bedrooms for visiting would-be investors.

The companies that have installed themselves in the French business centre include Lafarge, a pioneer of investment in Iraq which already has cement plants in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and has just started a $200 million renovation of an Iraqi state-owned cement plant in Kerbala.

Others are oil contractor Technip and engineering firm Alstom. Oil major Total, which has partnered with China’s CNPC to develop Iraq’s giant Halfaya oilfield, plans to move from Baghdad’s Green Zone government and diplomatic enclave to the business centre, French diplomats said.

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