Iraq’s reconstruction after ISIL defeat to cost $88 bln
KUWAIT – Reuters
Rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will cost $88.2 billion, with housing a particularly urgent priority, Iraqi officials told an international conference on Feb.12
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 conflict with the hardline militants who seized almost a third of the country. Iraq declared victory over ISIL in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.
About $22 billion will be required in the short term and another $66 billion in the medium term, the director-general of the country’s planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, told the conference, without indicating any timeframe.
“Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilising the states of the region and the world,” said Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili, adding that the reconstruction was therefore also the responsibility of the international community.
The United States, which leads an international coalition that provided Iraq with key air support in the fight against ISIL, does not plan to pledge any money at the Kuwait conference, U.S. officials said.
Nations could help by acting as guarantors with lenders, allowing Iraq to take out soft loans to fund infrastructure projects, Mahdi al-Alaq, the Secretary-General of Iraq’s Council of Ministers, told the conference, adding that there were preliminary indications that some states would do so.
The housing sector has the most urgent need for funds, said Raja Rehan Arshad, the lead disaster risk management specialist for the World Bank.
Around 138,000 housing units had been damaged and half of them were completely destroyed said Mustafa al-Hiti, who runs Iraq’s Reconstruction Fund for Areas Affected by Terroristic Operations. About 2.5 million Iraqis remain displaced by the fighting, he added.
Iraq has been plagued by violence over the past 15 years.
A U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and was followed by years of insurgency, sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi’ites, as well as ethnic tensions between the Arabs and Kurds, all before ISIL emerged in 2014.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Iraq yesterday to discuss the country’s reconstruction with Iraqi officials.
“I have come to tell you of France’s support and to accompany you. We will always be there. We were there to participate in the coalition. We will also be there in the reconstruction phase,” Le Drian said.
France has been a key member of the U.S.-led military coalition against ISIL.
“We hope French expertise will be used for the reconstruction,” Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari replied.
Le Drian, who previously visited Baghdad in August last year, was also scheduled to meet Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Massum and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi.