Baghdad, Iraq, February 20, 2018 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Central Bank of Iraq are launching a series of specialized workshops, starting today, to raise corporate governance standards in Iraqi banks and strengthen the country’s banking sector.
IFC’s advisory services team will support the Central Bank in implementing its new mandatory corporate governance banking guidelines. IFC will initially train all key managers in the Central Bank and then roll out workshops to board members from all the country’s banks. Topics include understanding the unique nature of governance in the sector, the right composition of boards, and risk management best practice.
Aly Al Alaq, Governor of the Central bank said: “Helping banks implement sound corporate governance practices will increase the sector’s resilience and sustainability and make them more investment-friendly, enabling banks to not only boost efficiency, but also increase profit.”
The initiatives are part of IFC’s strategy to spur private sector growth in Iraq and scale up support for fragile and conflict-affected states, where private sector investment is key. For companies operating in conflict-affected environments, strong corporate governance can be vital for sustainability.
“Our aim is to foster a positive corporate governance culture within which banks in Iraq can operate, to strengthen the sector and drive growth,” said Ziad Badr IFC Principal Country Officer in Iraq. “Improved practices help attract direct investments and ultimately stimulate social welfare and economic growth.”
IFC has been working to improve corporate governance in Iraq since 2014. As well as working with local institutions, in May 2017, IFC launched the country’s first independent institute of directors—the Kurdistani Institute of Directors (KIoD)—alongside the Erbil Chamber of Commerce and Trade, which advises on best practice and strengthening the role of independent directors and boards.
IFC’s advisory work in Iraq focuses on building the capacity of financial institutions, supporting governments, helping private firms improve their environmental, social, and governance standards, and mobilizing private investments through public-private partnerships.