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Experts at high-level meetings call for supporting Iraq in every possible way
February 13, 2018, 8:55 am

Participants at an experts' level meeting on reconstruction in Iraq and the role of financial institutions stressed that the country should fully recover from the destruction caused by "terrorist" attacks on its soil.

In a speech to close out the meeting, Director General of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) Abdulwahab Al-Bader said Baghdad has elucidated its vision of an "economically stable and developed Iraq."

He pointed out that the participants in the meeting exchanged vantage points over what needs to be done to rebuild a nation that lies in ruin after years of warfare. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Cabinet's secretary general Dr. Mehdi Al-Allak underlined the scope of devastation in cities freed from the clutches of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

He revealed that meticulous studies indicate that a staggering sum of USD 88 billion is actually required to rebuild vast sectors across Iraq, noting that the reconstruction process encompasses the entire country.

Dr. Mustafa Al-Hiti, the president of the Iraqi reconstruction fund, explained that the humanitarian dimension to the reconstruction process is the focal point of the endeavor. He added that other significant factors include the losses incurred during the war, in addition to the plight of some 2.5 million Iraqis forced out of their homes by the violence.

Earlier, European Union (EU) officials stressed the humanitarian dimension to the reconstruction process in war-torn Iraq, given the misery the war against the so-called Islamic State has wrought.

Attending an experts' level meeting on reconstruction in Iraq and the role of financial institutions, a number of EU officials discussed the humanitarian aspect of the copious amounts of aid that will pour into Iraq.

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said the EU is determined to assist the Iraqi people by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC) deputy director for the Middle East Patrick Hamilton pointed out that the lion's share of aid should go to the healthcare and education sectors, both of which were badly hit by the war.

The French Development Agency's (FPA) director for the Middle East, Mary Helen, drew a link between the humanitarian and development aspects of the reconstruction process in Iraq. She added that the FPA is working on development projects in Iraqi cities suffering from a dearth of water, one of many destructive effects the war has had on the country.

Also earlier, Iraqi officials agreed that the private sector should be heavily involved in the reconstruction process in their war-battered country, saying the endeavor is a global responsibility. Speaking during an experts' level meeting on reconstruction in Iraq and the role of financial institutions, the officials pointed out that stability in Baghdad could help open up trade routes in the region.

The secretary general of the Iraqi Cabinet Dr. Mehdi Al-Allak said that his country has introduced a raft of measures in a bid to provide an investment-friendly environment, including administrative and financial reforms.

He spoke of the destruction the so-called Islamic State (IS) has left in its wake, disrupting the lives of millions of Iraqis, noting that the "Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction in Iraq" would put the country directly on the path towards prosperity.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Minister of Planning Maher Johan highlighted the need of a comprehensive plan to restore stability in areas which bore the brunt of the war. The Iraqi ministry of planning's director general Hussain Dawood revealed that a digital portal the government has established would prove handy in following the progress of all development projects in the country.

Raja Arshad, a disaster risk management specialist at the World Bank, said that among major factors taken into account include the total cost of the reconstruction process in a country that lies in tatters after years of war. Dr. Mustafa Al-Hiti, the president of the Iraqi reconstruction fund, said that some 152 development projects were completed in 2016, while 24 others had been carried out in the latter half of last year.

At a previous time today, Iraq has suffered tremendously as a result of the war on terror, which requires sound planning for its reconstruction process, KFAED chief Al-Bader said in the opening sessions.

Iraq was viciously attacked by terrorism, leading to the displacement of over five million Iraqis, noted Al-Al-Bader during his speech before the experts' level meeting for the "Iraq reconstruction and the role of financial institutions".

The meeting is part of the inclusive agenda of Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI), taking place from February 12 to 14. "Damage reached infrastructure, transport, power and water facilities, as well as crops, in addition to deterioration in educational and health services," he added.

For that, "the Iraqi vision could be achieved through efforts exerted by the people in order to recover and bounce back economically, with the help of international development endeavors and the private sector," Al-Bader pointed out.

Source: Arab Times

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