Kuwait gath­ers global sup­port to aid Iraq in re­con­struc­tion con­fer­ence

Kuwait Times - - Local -

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.”

— Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

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.

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