Iraq seeks US$88.2b for reconstruction, says minister

Aaron Brown
February 15, 2018

Iraqi and World Bank officials today talked up legal guarantees available in post-IS Iraq, pointing to an investment law that offers ownership, unlimited cash transfers and tax breaks, among other benefits.

The participants of Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) stressed the importance of the human dimension in supporting the reconstruction of Iraq.

Iraq's volatile security has driven foreign businesses from investing in a country that is only just starting to emerge from a three-year war and has yet to eradicate widespread corruption.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the group in 2014 and 2015. The fighters have also been largely defeated in neighbouring Syria.

Around 138,000 houses and flats have been damaged, with half of them completely destroyed. Tens of billions more were lost indirectly through damage to the wider economy and years of lost growth, the planning ministry said.

The housing sector has the most urgent need for funds, he added.

"We hope French expertise will be used for the reconstruction", Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari replied. It "led to the total destruction of its infrastructure".

In addition to requesting global support, Iraq is also seeking private-sector investments.

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Of the money needed, Iraqi officials estimate $17 billion alone needs to go toward rebuilding homes, the biggest single line item offered Monday on the first day of meetings.

Nations could help by acting as guarantors with lenders, allowing Iraq to take out soft loans to fund infrastructure projects, Mahdi al-Alaq, secretary general of Iraq's Council of Ministers, told the conference.

WAR-BATTERED Iraq today sought to attract worldwide investors to rebuild the country after defeating the Islamic State group, offering hundreds of projects and touting extensive legal guarantees.

Lise Grande, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said failure to help Iraq could lead to renewed instability.

Since the 1980s, resource-rich Iraq has been battered by war and worldwide economic sanctions.

It announced $330 million alone had been pledged Monday for Iraq at a humanitarian conference in Kuwait City.

World Bank officials joined Iraqi government representatives on today in Kuwait City to seek pledges from more than 2,000 representatives of global firms in attendance.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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