Iraq seeks 88 billion dollars to rebuild after decades of war
Rachid Jalikov (center), of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), participates in the Iraq conference in Kuwait on February 12, 2018
After four decades of armed conflict, Iraq wants to raise 88 billion dollars to rebuild the country, a colossal project that began to take shape on Monday at an international conference in Kuwait.
For three days, hundreds of policy makers, business people and business people will gather in Kuwait. The Iraqi government expects in particular to raise funds from the private sector to rebuild thousands of homes and relocate the 2.5 million displaced people in Iraq.
Since the 1980s, Iraq has been mired in several wars and a long international embargo, particularly after invading Kuwait in 1990.
Two months ago, the government announced the end of a new war, this time against the jihadists of the Islamic State (EI) group, which in 2014 had conquered large areas of the country. But the reconstruction of the second OPEC oil producer will be long and difficult.
“We evaluated the total needs to rebuild Iraq at 88.2 billion dollars,” about 71.9 billion euros, said Iraqi Planning Minister Salman al Jumeili at the opening of the conference. The funds will be used for displaced people and to rebuild public services, he told AFP.
According to Qusai Abdelfatah, general director of the Ministry of Planning Iraqi, 22,000 million dollars of these funds are urgently needed and the rest in the medium term.
“We have launched reconstruction programs (…) but what we have achieved is less than 1% of what Iraq needs,” acknowledged Mustafa al Hiti, president of the reconstruction fund for the areas affected by the fighting against IS. .
“More than 138,000 houses are damaged and half of them totally destroyed,” he said.
– The return of the displaced –
Abdel Karim al Fayçal, adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, during the international conference on the reconstruction of Iraq, on February 12, 2018 in Kuwait
In addition to the material destruction, Iraq faces a serious humanitarian crisis, with 2.5 million displaced people. That is why the Kuwait conference should serve to finance the “voluntary” return of the displaced to their homes, said Bruno Geddo, of the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR).
“Although the large-scale fighting has ended (…), the scars continue throughout the country, the cities were badly damaged, the communities were scattered,” he explained.
UNICEF and UN-Habitat also called for urgent investments to restore infrastructure and basic services for Iraqi families.
“Violence (…) has destroyed the lives of millions of people, with one child in four in poverty,” said the two organizations. In addition, half of the schools needed repairs and more than three million children had to interrupt their education.
On Monday several NGOs, mostly from Kuwait, already announced funds of more than 330 million dollars to support humanitarian operations, including 130 from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
On Tuesday, the conference will host representatives from the private sector and on Wednesday it will be dedicated to the participating countries.