$88 Billion Needed to Rebuild Post-ISIS Iraq

$88 Billion Needed to Rebuild Post-ISIS Iraq

Monday, 12 February, 2018 - 18:15
Over 80 billion dollars are need to rebuild post-ISIS Iraq. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iraq announced on Monday that $88 billion were need to build the country after the defeat of the ISIS terrorist organization.

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.

“Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world,” said Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili.

The officials made their declaration at an international donors’ conference hosted by Kuwait.

Donors and investors have gathered in Kuwait this week to discuss efforts to rebuild Iraq’s economy and infrastructure as it emerges from a devastating three-year conflict with the terrorists who seized almost a third of the country.

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

The seven provinces attacked by the terrorists suffered $46 billion in direct damage, including the destruction of 147,000 housing units, and the security forces took $14 billion in losses. Tens of billions more were lost indirectly through damage to the wider economy and years of lost growth, the Planning Ministry said.

"We finished one battle but we are engaged now with a war for reconstruction," said Mustafa al-Hiti, the head of Iraq's reconstruction fund for areas affected by terrorist operations.

"The majority of the damage was to western Mosul as it went through one of the worst and fiercest battles in history," said Nofal al-Akoub, the governor of Iraq's Nineveh province. It "led to the total destruction of its infrastructure."

Iraq has published a list of some 157 projects for which it is seeking investment.

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.

Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications will be key to providing jobs for the young, ending the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and putting an end to decades of political and sectarian violence.

The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

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.

US officials said the United States, which occupied Iraq from 2003-2011 and now leads an international coalition that provided air support against ISIS, does not plan to pledge funds at the Kuwait conference.

Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, warned failure to help Iraq could lead to renewed instability.

“If the international community doesn’t help the government of Iraq to stabilize these areas (devastated by the war) the gains against ISIS could be at risk,” she said.

Non-governmental organizations pledged $330 million in humanitarian aid at a parallel NGO conference, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA reported.

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 reopened to foreign investment after 2003, with most spent on increasing its oil and natural gas production.

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