Countries pledge billions for Iraq reconstruction at Kuwait donors' conference

Countries pledge billions for Iraq reconstruction at Kuwait donors' conference
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the countries to have pledged to help Iraq in loans and investments to rebuild the country following the defeat of IS.
2 min read
14 February, 2018

The United Nations on Wednesday urged the international community to support Iraq's reconstruction after the devastating war with the Islamic State group.

At an international donors' conference hosted by Kuwait, the UN chief, Antonio Guterres told the Iraqi delegation, "the whole world owes you a debt for your struggle against the deadly global threat posed by Daesh," using the arabic acronym for IS.

"It is time to demonstrate our lasting gratitude, and solidarity with the Iraqi people," he added.

Baghdad says it needs nearly $90 billion to rebuild devastated homes, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure after more than three years of battling the IS group.

The estimate was based on an assessment study by Iraqi and international experts, the planning minister said.

Turkey pledged $5 billion in loans and investment for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile said it would give $1 billion to investment projects in Iraq and $500 million to support Iraqi exports, while Qatar was looking to give $1 billion in loans and investments.

Kuwait, hosting the conference, pledged $2 billion in loans and investment.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said $1 billion will be in the form of loans, and the rest will be invested in projects in the war-battered country.

Australia has also pledged an extra $18 million towards the reconstruction efforts.

"The widespread destruction of people's homes, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure is a significant barrier to Iraqis returning home and resuming their lives" said the Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

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Iraq declared victory against IS in December, more than three years after the extremist group seized a third of its territory and swathes of neighbouring Syria, declaring a "caliphate" ruling over millions of people.

As the ground fight against the IS group nears its end, with the extremist group losing large swathes of land, the group's territory is now reduced to a small strip of the Euphrates and small areas of Syria and Iraq.

There are less than 1,000 IS fighters estimated remaining in Iraq and Syria.

Since the 1980s, resource-rich Iraq has been battered by war and international economic sanctions.

The Iraq Report is a weekly feature at The New Arab.

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