World Bank approves new loan for Iraq
TORONTO, Canada (Kurdistan24) – The World Bank approved a new loan for Iraq amid the international drop in oil prices and the burden of the Islamic State (IS) war.
According to a statement on Tuesday, the World Bank revealed a total of USD $1.5 billion would be sent to Iraq.
In 2015, Iraq received nearly $1.5 billion to cope with the emergence of IS in the country.
With the new loan, the total contribution of the World Bank in Iraq is roughly $3.4 billion, according to the lender.
The Iraqi government’s income comes from the sale of crude oil, but after the drop in oil prices and the advance of IS, the country slumped into a financial crisis.
“The new loan aims to support government efforts to rationalize spending, improve energy efficiency, and enhance governance at state-owned companies,” the World Bank statement read.
World Bank Director for the Middle East Ferid Belhaj spoke to Reuters about the upcoming loan which he called a “unique case.”
“[Iraq] is engaging in structural, deep, far-reaching reforms at the same time as fighting a brutal war against a destructive force,” Belhaj explained.
According to previous statements by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the battle with IS has caused nearly $35 billion in damages.
However, Belhaj was confident Iraq would be able to repay its debt because of its “oil and gas wealth.”
“Iraq is one of the richest countries on the face of the earth,” he said. “Iraq has huge potential and Iraq has the capacity to repay its debt.”
The World Bank Director added the country was capable of leveraging “its resources to engage in a total new era of diversification” away from oil.
Editing by Ava Homa