ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Several countries continued to pledge billions of dollars as a donor conference on the reconstruction of Iraq following the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) held in Kuwait wrapped up on Wednesday.
Despite the contributions and investments from Iraq’s allies, the amount donated still fell short of Baghdad’s goal of $88.2 billion needed to recover from the IS war.
Iraq’s southern Arab neighbors pledged billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia providing $1 billion through its Saudi Fund for Development and $500 million in export credit, Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir revealed at the conference.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah said his country would “earmark $1 billion in loans to Iraq and will commit to another $1 billion as investments.”
Qatar pledged $1 billion in loans and investments and the United Arab Emirates promised $500 million, adding there was $5.5 billion in private sector investments in Iraq.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his government would give Iraq $5 billion in credit lines, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Australia pledged an extra $18 million for reconstruction efforts after an earlier promise to provide $100 million over the next three years.
The Canadian government said it would contribute $12 million to aid in “the reconstruction of critical services in areas that have been liberated” from IS.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland added that Ottawa is “contributing $2 billion over the course of three years toward security, stabilization, and humanitarian and development assistance.”
Germany pledged 500 million euros and the European Union 400 million euros. The United States has been reluctant to offer more financial backing to Iraq but promised a $3 billion package for the country from the Export-Import Bank of the US.
The World Bank also signed two projects with the Iraqi government on the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday, increasing its total commitment to Iraq to $4.7 billion.
“The increased Bank commitment will help support [the] immediate restoration of education and health services, rebuilding important roads and bridges, and rehabilitation of electricity and water systems,” a press release informed.
After declaring a “final victory” over IS last December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for foreign help in reconstructing the country, stating Iraq would need at least $100 billion to rebuild war-torn cities.
Iraq is also currently suffering from political and economic turmoil, with its security situation remaining fragile as it approaches the May 12 parliamentary elections.
The Iraqi Parliament has failed to pass the 2018 budget bill prepared by the Federal Government as Kurds and Sunni Arabs have asked for a number of amendments to the draft. Both parties claim the current bill fails to allocate adequate funding for their respective areas.