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Cablegate: Ambassador Satterfield Briefed On June Conference

VZCZCXRO5016
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #0600 1141224
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241224Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0853
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI PRIORITY 0710
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8873
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KUWAIT 000600

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

TREASURY FOR KIMMITT, BAGHDAD FOR WEYGANDT AND REO BASRA,
DEPT FOR S/I, EB/IFD/ODG, NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EINV ECON IZ KU
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SATTERFIELD BRIEFED ON JUNE CONFERENCE
IN RAS AL KHAIMAH TO PROMOTE SME DEVELOPMENT IN IRAQ


1. On 23 April, Iraq Coordinator David Satterfield,
accompanied by Treasury Department Middle East Deputy
Director Malachy Nugent, Polcouns, and Econoff, met with
Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL) Chairman Saeed
Esmail Dashti to discuss plans for the "Iraq First"
International Convention for the Development of Small and
Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be held in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
on 7-8 June, 2007. Dashti explained that since KGL, a major
Kuwait-based logistics company with a market capitalization
of over $1 billion, has done well over the past few years by
its involvement in Iraq reconstruction, he wanted to give
back to Iraq by contributing to development efforts,
especially in the South, by supporting the development of
SMEs. Dashti said he initially approached the GOI about his
proposal but was redirected to the provincial governors, who
explained that they needed support to foster the growth of
local entrepreneurs. KGL subsequently solicited business
plans and received proposals for 460 projects, which were
eventually whittled down to 179, mostly focusing on
manufacturing, construction, and distribution. KGL then
approached the IFC, OPIC, and OPIC's SME development agency
in Iraq, the Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation
(IMMDF), to enlist their support for the conference. Dashti
then approached his friend, Crown Prince Shaykh Saud Bin Saqr
Al-Qassimi of Ras Al Khaimah, who offered to host. The
conference program, which Dashti hopes will bring together
government officials, investors, and entrepreneurs, includes
sessions on financing SMEs, management training, the Iraq
investment climate, and presentations on the project
proposals that have been submitted. Dashti said that after
the conference concludes, he plans to disengage KGL from the
program.

2. Ambassador Satterfield said the program looked promising
and offered his support to encourage a strong commitment from
OPIC and involvement from Embassy Baghdad. He encouraged
Dashti to expand the program geographically to include some
of the central Iraqi provinces, such as Anbar, in addition to
the South. Satterfield also urged Dashti to seek the active
participation of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Economic
Affairs Barham Saleh.

3. Scans of the program, guest list, and invitation letter
for the conference were forwarded to the Embassy Baghdad Econ
Minister-Counselor on 22 April.

4. Ambassador Satterfield cleared this cable.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embssy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *

LeBaron

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