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14/02/2018 - 19:02hs

Conference raises USD 30 bn for reconstruction of Iraq

The three-day event in Kuwait gathered representatives of 76 countries, plus the UN secretary-general. Gulf nations announced the largest investments.

Kuwait City – This Wednesday (14), on the last day of the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI), a ministerial conference was held at Bayan Palace, the official residence of the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in Kuwait City. The Iraqi government reported that investments worth USD 30 billion were announced during the event, from countries and organizations.

Yousef Dashti/Kuna

Emir of Kuwait: the reconstruction of Iraq is crucial

According to Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, despite this being less money than expected, Iraqis are satisfied with the investments. “This is a first step, we needed USD 88 billion and would have loved to have reached this amount, but we know this is a very high sum and we value the generosity of the international community. Realistically speaking, we received more than what we expected,” he said in a press conference at the end of the event.

Kuwait announced that it will donate USD 2 billion, half of it in loans and half in direct investments for the reconstruction. “The reconstruction of Iraq is essential for the continuation of the fight against terrorism, to defeat it,” said the Emir. He added that the conference and the support from countries showed the “humanitarian role of the international community.”

Among the largest investors are other Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, with USD 500 million, plus USD 500 million from DP World, a company from the port sector, and an estimated USD 5 billion from the private sector. For UAE’s Foreign Minister, Anwar Gargash, “the local actors need to lead the investment process to help rebuild post-war Iraq.”

Saudi Arabia announced USD 1 billion in loans and USD 500 million to fund Saudi exports to Iraq. Qatar reported investments worth USD 1 billion, and countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan offered their expertise in many sectors. The Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development announced USD 1.5 billion in investments.

Yousef Dashti/Kuna

Guterres: the country is on the right track

Delegations from 76 countries, 51 development funds, 107 Non-governmental organizations and 1,850 companies and organizations attended the event. The opening of the Ministerial Conference had the presence of Iraq’s prime minister, Haider Al-Abadi, of the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, plus the Emir of Kuwait.

Mogherini announced USD 4 million in investments and said that it’s the responsibility of the international community to support Iraq in this crucial moment. She pointed out that “the reconstruction is not only about buildings” and that there’s a need to “built a country that works for everybody,” highlighting the importance of the country’s social reconstruction, especially for the young people, unemployed, minorities, women and children.

The Word Bank president said that the organization currently has 4.7 billion in investments in Iraq, and that no one can predict the economic future, underlining the importance of long-term investments in human capital.

Guterres said that the UN is launching the program “Iraq Recovery and Resilience” program to speed up the process of social recovery in the country, offering hope and opportunities. “The fact that Iraq is on the right track, and has the support of the international community, is great news already.”


Bruna Garcia/ANBA

Sauer (L), Watson and Rapesta (R): representing Brazil

The Brazilian ambassador in Kuwait, Norton Rapesta, was the head of the Brazilian delegation, which also included the embassy’s counsellor, César Sauer, and Andréa Watson, diplomat and vice director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), linked to Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ambassador said that his participation was to gather information to share it with other public and private organizations. Watson said that, at this moment, what could be put into practice is a bilateral agreement to bring Iraqis to take training courses in Brazil, in areas of their choice. “It was a first step, an important event to show that Iraq is pacified and that’s a start to encourage investments from other countries,” she said.

*The journalist travelled at the invitation of Kuwait’s government. Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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