Global

Iran welcomes Iraq reconstruction conference in Kuwait

Iran welcomes Iraq reconstruction conference in Kuwait

Iraq needs almost $90 billion to rebuild after three years of war with the Islamic State group, officials said Monday, with large parts of the country in ruins and tens of thousands left homeless.

Regarding the objectives of the conference, Ghasemi said that the goal of the conference is to bring together various worldwide resources to reconstruct Iraq, especially to rebuild war-stricken areas, and to eradicate the root cause of domestic violent conflicts, and to attract national and foreign investment.

Ahead of a conference on Iraq's reconstruction that will be held in Kuwait next week, Iraq's National Investment Commission published a list of major strategic projects available for investment, with 157 different opportunities up for grabs.

About $23 billion will be needed in the short term and more than $65 billion in the medium term, the director general of Iraq's Planning Ministry, Qusay Adulfattah.

Officials said housing was an urgent priority - the war damaged some 138,000 housing units, of which half had been completely destroyed.

Araji said that Iraq, which has been either at war or under global sanctions since 1980, is offering projects in nearly every field of the economy - from oil to agriculture.

They include rebuilding destroyed facilities such as Mosul airport and new investments to diversify the economy away from crude oil sales, developing transport, agriculture and oil-related industry including petrochemicals and refining.

Iraq-OPEC's second-largest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia-will be looking to attract investment mostly in the downstream, planning the construction of new refineries with different capacities, including one at the Al-Faw Port with a 300,000-bpd capacity.

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

"Add to that the total damages in the security sector, which amounted to $14bn and the value of losses on bank assets, about $10bn", he said.

This funding also helps internally displaced people in Iraq return home safely and supports the clearance of explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices in areas newly liberated from Daesh, states the release.

Baghdad has said it is determined to tackle the red tape and corruption that hamper investment. Iraq is viewed by investors as the 10th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International.

"Iraq is emerging from a devastating period of conflict and violence", noted the World Bank study cited by the Journal. The United States, which led the coalition that provided the Iraqi armed forces with crucial air-support in the fight against IS, does not plan on pledging any money at the Kuwait conference, according to American officials.

Billions of dollars poured into Iraq after the 2003 USA -led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, with what feels now like little visible effect.


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