Alongside the International Monetary Fund/World Bank annual meetings in Istanbul during the first week of October, Iraq’s Anbar province was recognised as fDi Magazine’s standout region of the year.

Governor of Anbar, Qasim Abid Muhammad Hammadi Al Fahadawi, accepted the award from fDi editor Courtney Fingar on behalf of the province. The ceremony, which took place during a luncheon at the Radisson SAS Bosphorous hotel, was attended by government officials, bankers, corporate executives, investors and business services advisers from Iraq, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, the US and other countries.

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Prior to the governor receiving the award, Paul Hinks, CEO of Symbion Power LLC, a US-based engineering and electrical infrastructure construction company with offices in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil, took the floor and told of his on-the-ground experiences working in Iraq and his belief in the country’s long-term investment potential. Under US government contracts, Symbion completed nine electrification projects in Iraq valued at $260m, including the construction of transmission lines across Anbar during the height of the conflict between US forces and insurgents.

Every summer since 2003, fDi Magazine has named personalities of the year for each region of the world – business and political leaders who have been particularly proactive, dynamic and innovative in encouraging foreign investment and improving business environments – as well as a global winner.

The criteria of the awards have focused on rewarding success in attracting FDI or in developing policies that facilitate FDI. However, it has come to light that by recognising individual people – even if strictly in the context of their FDI initiatives – the awards risk being interpreted as endorsements of

individuals or political factions and their overall policies, viewpoints or even their character. In order to avoid the awards being unnecessarily politicised and to keep the focus firmly on FDI potential, growth and policies, fDi has repositioned the 2009 awards to recognise standout regions and stories of the year. Anbar was top of the field.

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Paul Hinks, CEO of Symbion Power LLC, offers an international business perspective on Anbar’s potential

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Major general Richard T Tryon, commanding general of Multi National Force – West, congratulates the governor after his acceptance speech

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fDi editor Courtney Fingar presents Anbar’s governor with the award for standout region of the year

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Governor Qasim poses with the newly received award and fDi editor Courtney Fingar after the lunch event

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Iraqi officials and investors were among those on hand to celebrate Anbar’s award