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Tejari to Launch Operations in Iraq

Tejari ( www.tejari.com ), the Middle East online marketplace, announced today the launch of Tejari Iraq as part of its ongoing regional expansion strategy. The move into the region's largest emerging market signals the e-procurement service provider's confidence in the growing acceptance of online business in the region.

Tejari's expansion into Iraq is proceeding as part of a partnership deal with Al-Gabban Group, a leading group of companies specializing in construction and property management, with operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , Qatar , Kuwait , and Iraq .

The franchise agreement will serve the e-procurement needs of both the private and government sectors in Iraq as the country embarks on major infrastructure development projects in the energy, agriculture, financial services, telecommunications, and healthcare sectors.

Tejari Iraq will be developing relationships with the various authorities who are already procuring billions of US dollars in direct and indirect materials for power generation and distribution; seaports and airports; hospitals and schools; telecommunications; oil and gas production, pipelines, terminals, reservoir and well management; roads and bridges; water and wastewater treatment; facility management; vehicle and fleet maintenance; airfield operations; fuel operations; warehousing and distribution; shipping and receiving; hazardous material handling; food services; accommodation; medical services; uniform and laundry services; sanitation; and mail services.

The countries that have established themselves as the centers for Iraqi reconstruction activity and the sources of the majority of goods and services that are being procured for reconstruction efforts will benefit tremendously from Tejari's new operations in Iraq .

The current state of Internet and banking infrastructures in Iraq are not deterring Tejari from its objective of delivering the business benefits of online procurement into the market. The online business leader forecasts that Iraq's lack of legacy networks means that it can deploy the latest communications solutions such as wireless Internet technologies, as well as banking solutions, in a shorter timeframe than many developed economies in the US and Europe.

The development of its Iraq operations follows Tejari's successful forays into Jordan and Lebanon . “The earlier launches of Tejari Jordan and Tejari Lebanon proved to be ideally timed and executed, and we envisage a similar level of acceptance for online procurement in Iraq ,” said HE Sultan Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Ports , Customs, and Free Zone Authority, and Chairman of Tejari.

Tejari Iraq is being created specifically to enable both the private and government sectors in the country to realize the advantages facilitated by online procurement, including dramatic cost savings, greater efficiencies, and enhanced market reach.

“Very soon, Iraqi organizations and those involved in infrastructure development within the country will be able to significantly reduce their procurement costs, and eliminate many paper-based administrative expenses while reaching new suppliers and buyers instantly by joining Tejari,” said Bin Sulayem.

Tejari Iraq Launch Well-Timed

Both Tejari's management and that of its partner believe that now is the ideal time to build awareness and acceptance for online trade in the emerging economy. With Iraq's reconstruction cost estimates ranging up to USD $55 billion over the next four years, Iraqi organizations are in a prime position to benefit from the cost- and time-saving advantages of online procurement.

“Launching Tejari Iraq at this point in Iraq 's rebuilding will enable the business and government communities to embrace online trading as a fundamentally beneficial, secure form of doing business. The administrative cost reductions and time-saving elements of procurement through Tejari may encourage some Iraqi organizations to skip paper-based trading almost all together,” commented Mohammad Al-Ghabban, Chairman of the Ghabban Group.

“Among the core objectives of Tejari Iraq is to boost the productivity of Iraq 's government sector, which needs to conserve resources where possible and deliver enhanced services to the population. We believe that by trading through Tejari, Iraqi public sector departments can increase the diversity of suppliers for their service efforts while ensuring that the tendering process is both efficient and transparent,” added Al-Ghabban.

One of the organizations taking an avid interest in the launch of Tejari Iraq is the Iraq United National Company for Investment and Construction Limited. “We believe that Tejari Iraq has enormous potential to aid in bolstering the Iraqi economy, and enable Iraq become a major international business hub. Tejari's expertise in e-government and e-business is also a welcome addition to Iraq 's reconstruction efforts,” stated Dr. Anas Al-Naimi, Managing Director, Iraq United National Company for Investment and Construction Limited.

Regional Expansion Continues Apace

Now well known in the UAE, Jordan , and Lebanon , Tejari is realising significant achievement with its regional expansion goal. “It is our aim to have the entire Middle East served via Tejari's online marketplace within the next few years,” stated Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tejari.

“Complementing our proactive regional expansion efforts, Tejari has elicited interest from a number of viable franchise partners from around the Middle East and North Africa . We have an aggressive strategy to confirm and announce a number of new partnerships within the first half of 2004,” added Sheikha Lubna.

Amman,11 24 2003
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