Standard Chartered has opened a new wholesale banking office in Baghdad.

The bank appointed Gavin Wishart as CEO of Standard Chartered Iraq. He was previously the bank’s chief of banks for Mena, and intends to open a branch in Erbil, northern Iraq, in December 2013 and in Basra, southern Iraq, during the first half of 2014.

The branches will provide project and export finance, structured trade finance, transaction banking, financial markets services, capital markets and corporate finance solutions. These will chiefly be in the areas of power, oil, telecoms and infrastructure sectors as well as large government projects.

Wishart comments: “We are optimistic about the prospects of the Iraqi economy. As an international bank, we believe there is substantial opportunity to play a leading role in the economic development of the country. In addition to servicing our existing clients, the Iraqi government is planning large-scale infrastructure projects and these will require international financing solutions.”

“For Iraq to realise its full potential and take its rightful place in the global economy it needs to attract massive investments. The financial sector is key to this,” adds Simon Collis, the British ambassador to Iraq.

StanChart has maintained a representative office in Erbil since 2006 and received approval from the Central Bank of Iraq for the branches in September this year.