STANDARD Chartered yesterday became the first international bank to open a full branch in Iraq.
The UK-listed lender, which specialises in emerging markets, opened the branch in Baghdad.
“We are optimistic about the prospects of the Iraqi economy. As an international bank, we believe there is substantial opportunity to play a leading role in the economic development of the country,” said the bank’s Iraq chief Gavin Wishart.
“In addition to servicing our existing clients, the Iraqi government is planning large-scale infrastructure projects and these will require international financing solutions.”
The branch aims to target international firms operating in Iraq and will offer transaction banking, project finance, export finance, capital markets and corporate finance services.
As well as government projects, Standard Chartered expects to work in the power, oil, telecoms and infrastructure sectors in the middle eastern economy.
The British bank said it also plans to open a site in Erbil next month and another in Basra in early 2014.