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KICRI pledges fall short of expectations
February 17, 2018, 3:41 pm
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Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari responding to the US$30 billion pledged at the recent Kuwait International Conference on Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) said, “We were hoping for more… We are not disappointed, but the amount was less than expected."
The Iraqi delegation accompanying the foreign minister also pointed out that over the next decade Iraq would require over $88 billion for reconstruction, with $22 billion needed immediately.

For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the KICRI conference. He also sought to allay fears that the funds pledged would be lost to corruption."We will not stop fighting corruption, which is not less than terrorism. In fact, it was one of the reasons for the rise of terrorism," the prime minister said.

Announcing the total amount pledged at the closing session of the three-day conference, Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said the $30 billion in contributions came about as a result of the broad global commitment to reconstruction of Iraq. He added that the conference saw the participation of 76 countries, ‘along with 51 international development funds, 107 local and international non-governmental organizations (NGO), and 1,850 representatives from the private sector”.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states together with Turkey pledged $10 billion, a third of the total contributions, while Kuwait on its own contributed KD2 billion. Great Britain promised to grant Iraq export credit of up to $1 billion per year for a decade, while United States said the country’s Export-Import Bank would ink a $3 billion memorandum of understanding for cooperation across key sectors of Iraq. Together, the eight countries accounted for over $23 billion in pledges made at the conference. Meanwhile, the World Bank revealed its financial commitments to Iraq now topped $ 4.7 billion, including two new projects worth $510 million that were announced at the conference.

The three-day conference, which was held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was jointly chaired by the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, Iraq and Kuwait. The conference focused on contributing to rebuilding Iraq after years of war and conflict that ravaged the country and destroyed its infrastructure.

The first day of the conference deliberated and assessed the overall damage caused by the war and issues that needed to be addressed, as well as the projects to support stability, community reconciliation and peaceful coexistence in Iraq.

On the second day procedures for creating a suitable environment for investment were tackled, with over 200 projects in various sectors of the Iraqi economy being highlighted, including projects in the Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

The final day of the conference witnessed the declaration of overall contributions made at KICRI. The closing session was attended by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, in addition to the Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Al-Maatouq, chairman of Kuwait’s Islamic International Charity Organization (IICO) said the number of pledges at the NGO conference held to support the humanitarian situation in Iraq had crossed $330 million. Al-Maatouq added that these pledges will be in accordance with humanitarian and development programs in Iraq, especially in areas affected by armed conflicts there, and would be distributed in the areas of health, housing, education, rehabilitation and other humanitarian fields.

For his part, the Director of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) Abdulwahab Al-Bader said that a high-level meeting of experts from the private sector, including 420 individuals from various financial institutions and investment companies around the world, underlined the importance of supporting reform programs in Iraq, for the purpose of reconstruction, in addition to enhancing the social aspect in different regions of Iraq.

 

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