<BLOCKQUOTE class="postcontent restore">May 22 2011
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Citigroup Inc., the U.S. bank which earns about a $1 billion in revenue from the Middle East, has hired a former U.S. diplomat to oversee its team in Iraq as the holder of the world’s fourth-biggest oil reserves rebuilds its economy.
“We are very optimistic about Iraq over the next three to five years,” Dennis Flannery, who will run the division, said in an interview from Amman, Jordan.
The country will have “considerable wealth” from its oil exports and is poised to invest in the oil and gas industry, power generation and housing to boost growth, he said.
Flannery, 64, was the financial attache at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad for a year before joining Citigroup in March. He has worked at the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Treasury and the World Bank, and will oversee Citigroup’s plan to provide services to banks, international and state-owned companies in Iraq, the bank said in a statement.
Iraq, which holds the world’s biggest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran, said exports rose to 2.2 million barrels a day in February, the highest since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
China, Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria are among 11 economies that have the most promising growth prospects in coming decades, according to a report in February by Citigroup economists led by London-based Willem Buiter.
The lender will seek to expand its trade finance and syndicated lending services to some of the Iraq’s 44 public and private banks, he said. Citigroup is also in talks with the government to advise on projects in the oil, gas and power industries, as well as housing developments, Flannery said.
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