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15 February 2018, 12:18 | Floyd Cook
US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert
RebuildingIraq after years of war and economic turmoil will cost $88.2 billion, the director-general of the country's planning ministry, Qusay Abdulfattah, told an worldwide conference in Kuwait today. Iraq's exact economic situation is very hard to know because of lack of transparency, but its GDP is estimated at $192 bn for a population of roughly 32 million, for a per capita income of $6,000 a year.
Opec's second-largest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia - will be looking to attract investment mostly in the downstream, planning the construction of new refineries with different capacities, including one at the Al Faw Port with a 300,000-bpd (barrels per day) capacity. Only half have returned to their hometowns in Iraq. Around $25 billion went to Iraq's military, which disintegrated during the lightning 2014 offensive of the Islamic State group, which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq. Yet now the U.S. does not want to contribute a dime to the recovery of the country. Former High Official of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Jeremy Konyndyk has warned that not helping with reconstruction could set the stage for "a new insurgency". The Middle East as a whole, especially countries like Kuwait whose deep pockets rely on oil production, have taken a hit in recent years as energy prices crashed and only recently began regaining ground. United States corporate giants have already made a killing through their exploitation of Iraq's oil reserves and in rebuilding after the ouster of Saddam.
The Director General of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning Qusay Abdulfattah said at the conference that the reconstruction of Iraq requires 22 billion dollars urgently in the short term, and 66 billion dollars in the medium term. It announced $330 million alone had been pledged Monday for Iraq at a humanitarian conference in Kuwait City.
After the destruction of Tikrit, Ramadi, Falluja and Mosul (and Falluja had already been destroyed in 2004 by the Americans), Iraq needs to make massive investments in the Sunni Arab regions if it is to regain the loyalty of the people there. If you believe in collaboration to produce quality neutral journalism for everyone, it is important that you sign up to support our work financially.
But Iraq needs more than just cash as thousands remain held after the rout of the Islamic State group, including women and children. "We know we can not provide it through our own budget", he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month. We were there to participate in the coalition (against IS).
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