Kuwait pledges $2 billion for Iraq’s reconstruction

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Kuwait will lend one billion dollars to Iraq and commit a further one billion dollars of investment to the country, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah told an international conference on Iraq’s reconstruction on Wednesday.
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 Islamic State militants who seized almost a third of the country.
“Kuwait will earmark one billion dollars in loans to Iraq and will commit to another one billion dollars as investments in Iraq,” said Sheikh Sabah.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.
The fighters have also been largely defeated in neighboring Syria.
Rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Islamic State will cost more than $88 billion, with housing a particularly urgent priority, Iraqi officials say.
At the same conference the U.S. said it was extending a three billion dollars credit line but was not providing any direct government assistance.
International NGOs have so far pledged 330 million dollars in humanitarian assistance.
Iraq has suffered from decades of war and it is striking that it is holding its reconstruction conference in Kuwait, which it invaded in 1990, leading to defeat by a U.S.-led coalition and more than a decade of sanctions.
Kuwait will celebrate Liberation Day from Iraq in two weeks and Iraq still pays it reparations.
NAN reports that the director-general of Iraq’s planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, on Monday said rebuilding Iraq after three years of war with Islamic State will cost more than 88 billion dollars.
Adulfattah told the international donors’ conference that 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.
The seven provinces attacked by the militants, he said, suffered 46 billion dollars in direct damage, including the destruction of 147,000 housing units, and the security forces took $14 billion in losses.
He said tens of billions more were lost indirectly through damage to the wider economy and years of lost growth.
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.

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