Kuwait summit promises $30 billion in Iraq reconstruction aid
14 February, 2018, 19:21 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
During the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq happening in Kuwait, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that rebuilding Iraq would be an enormous and challenging undertaking, but voiced optimism in Iraq's ability to recover and thrive thanks to its people and resources.
Earlier in the day, Kuwait's ruling emir said his oil-rich nation will give $1 billion in loans and $1 billion in direct investments to help rebuild Iraq.
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"After the last three days in Kuwait, I feel hope for a new Iraq that is open for business and prepared to face the next challenge of rebuilding communities while reconstructing schools, roads, bridges, hospitals and public infrastructure".
Saudi Arabia will provide $1bn through its Saudi Fund for Development and $500m in export credit, Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told the conference, which ends later on Wednesday. Instead, the Trump administration will offer over $3 billion in loans, loan guarantees and insurance funds to American firms investing in Iraq. It shows Kuwait's deep desire to see its northern neighbour have a stable government after the years of unrest following the 2003 USA -led invasion that toppled Saddam. Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5 billion.
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Kuwait's $2 billion contribution to Iraq's reconstruction was significant, considering that Iraq still owes Kuwait reparations from Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion that led to the 1991 Gulf War.
The victory came at a steep cost for Mosul, as coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide vehicle bombs destroyed homes and government buildings. Iraq also is OPEC's second-largest crude producer and home to the world's fifth-largest known reserves, though It has struggled to pay worldwide firms running them. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.
The United States and the United Nations say that failure to help Iraq rebuild could lead to a reversal in gains made against IS there, as the conditions that kindled sectarian alienation and bloodshed, allowing militants to take over, would remain. US government auditors also found massive waste and corruption, fueling suspicions of Western politicians like Trump who want to scale back foreign aid.
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