Kuwait gathers global support to aid Iraq in reconstruction conference
KUWAIT: A number of Arab and foreign nations yesterday announced their financial contributions to Iraq in a Kuwait-hosted conference on reconstruction in the war-torn nation. Turkey has pledged $5 billion worth of loan funds and credit easing, while Saudi Arabia is contributing a share of $1 billion in aid money, in addition to a sum of $500 million to fund the Kingdom’s exports to Baghdad. Meanwhile, Qatar announced loan investments of up to $1 billion and the UAE is providing $500 million, in addition to $500 million given by the Islamic Development Bank. The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development pledged a fund worth $500 million, while the Finnish government is allocating a sum of $10 million for demining efforts. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had announced a $1 billion in loans to Iraq through Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, as well as another $1 billion in investments in Iraq.
EU pledges $400 million
The European Union (EU) will be investing $400 million worth of aid money in Iraq, its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced. Mogherini said that the sum is allocated out of the EU’s budget, pointing out that the European bloc and the United States had provided Baghdad with $3.5 million worth of aid last year. Mogherini applauded Kuwait for the country’s commitment towards humanitarian causes in a region where “peace remains elusive,” saying reconstruction in Iraq was a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.
The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy assured Baghdad that the aid given by the European bloc runs the gamut from educational and healthcare to military assistance, noting that an investment-friendly environment will invariably lead to a developed economy. Mogherini applauded Kuwait for the country’s commitment towards humanitarian causes in a region where “peace remains elusive,” saying reconstruction in Iraq was a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.
World Bank to help post-IS Iraq
Meanwhile, World Bank Group reiterated commitment to increasing the amount of financing allocated to helping the Iraqi people and the country’s reconstruction. The remark came during World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s speech at the official inauguration of the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI). Post-IS Iraq is putting many investment opportunities on the table, as the process of reconstruction and development could be efficiently pursued through the private sector, he noted.
Kim said that the Bank has ratcheted up its financial commitments to Iraq from $600 million in 2016 to a current $4.7 billion, pending further increases, in order to rejuvenate the economy and rebuild cities torn apart by war. He pointed out that human capital was of upmost significance to ensure long-term development, saying the Middle East region was in dire need of “quality investment in healthcare and education.”
KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah (center) stands next to Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as they pose with other officials for a group photo on the second day of an international conference for reconstruction of Iraq, in Kuwait City yesterday.