Gulf governments, investors commit $30bn to Iraq reconstruction

Gulf governments, investors commit $30bn to Iraq reconstruction
A conference was recently held in Kuwait to attract investors for Iraq's rebuilding operation [representational image].
Published: 15 February 2018 - 6:19 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

Investments worth more than $30bn have been pledged to aid the reconstruction of Iraq. 

Governments, funds, organisations, and investors from the Middle East and beyond have committed to rebuilding the nation. 

Iraq's foreign minister said the country's decade-long reconstruction plan would cost $88.2bn, of which $22bn was reportedly needed immediately. 

"We were hoping for more," Iraqi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, told AFP.

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"We are not disappointed, but the amount was less than expected." 

Donors and investors gathered in Kuwait this week to encourage programmes aimed at rebuilding Iraq's economy and infrastructure. 

These groups had pledged $30bn by the final day of the international conference, Kuwaiti officials reportedly said.

Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled Al-Sabah, Kuwait's foreign minister, said 76 countries, in addition to several international funds and organisations, as well as hundreds of investors, had made the pledges. 

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"The commitment of the international community at the conference was clear," Al-Sabah added.

Iraq could need almost $90bn to rebuild its infrastructure, such as homes, schools, hospitals, and economic networks. 

From the Gulf, host nation Kuwait committed $5bn in investment, loans, and financing for exports. 

Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, announced that the Emirates would provide development aid worth $500m to assist international efforts to reconstruct Iraq.

During his speech at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, he explained that the support included $250m through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for infrastructure projects, $100m to help UAE electricity companies fund projects in Iraq, $100m to support and promote UAE exports, as well as $50m to support the humanitarian efforts of Emirates Red Crescent and its charity projects.

Among the top contributors to the effort, according to an AFP report cited by Arabian Business, was Britain, which said it would grant Iraq export credit of $1bn on an annual basis, for a decade. 

Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the country would provide $5bn in loans and investment to the country. 

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said the Export-Import Bank of the United States would ink a $3bn memorandum of understanding with the country, which would "set a stage for future cooperation across key sectors of Iraq's economy including oil and gas, transportation, and commodities".

Jim Yong Kim, president of World Bank, said the private sector could support the "successful" reconstruction of Iraq. 

"Many businesses from around the world have gathered here to discuss how they can invest in Iraq's future and create the jobs that will help bring stability to the country," Kim added, according to the AFP report.

"Their presence in such numbers shows that Iraq is open for business." 

 

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