International funding pledges to rebuild Iraq after war against Isis fall woefully short

World

Iraqi leaders have been left dismayed at the close of a three-day aid pledging conference for the country post-Isis at which just 34 per cent of the funds needed for rebuilding were raised. 

A total of $30m (£21.5m) was promised by a handful of governments – well under the $88.2m (£63m) Baghdad is seeking. 

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari told reporters at the conference’s close on Wednesday that the amount raised was nowhere near what the country requires to repair the extensive damage caused by three years of fighting and US-led coalition bombing against jihadi militants. 

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The US – which one way or another has been entangled in Iraq since the 2003 invasion – did not offer any direct financial help, but did pledge up to $5bn (£3.6bn) in loans and financing to help US firms invest in the country.  

The most generous offer of help came from Turkey, who offered $5bn (£3.6bn) in credit, and from Kuwait, which pledged $1bn (£0.7bn) in loans and $1bn (£0.7bn) in direct investments. 

Kuwait’s donation has been viewed as particularly generous given that Iraq’s former ruler Saddam Hussein invaded the tiny country just one generation ago. 

Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5bn (£1.1bn) as did the Kuwait-based Arab Fund.

$1bn (£0.7bn) was forthcoming from Qatar, $500m from the UAE and $500m from the Islamic Development Bank.

Germany pledged 444m euros ($617 million) and the EU 400m euros (£355 million). 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, speaking just after the crest-fallen Mr Jaafari, called the conference “an enormous success”. 

“This large assembly of international communities that are here today is reflective of the large loss that Iraq withstood in facing terrorism,” Kuwait’s ruling Sheikh Sabah said. 

“Iraq cannot commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq’s side.” 

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While the amounts of money pledged are vast, Iraqis and analysts are worried that the lack of funding for rebuilding could set the country even further back – and could lead the reemergence of grievances against the West. 

In the city of Mosul, which was recaptured in July last year after a horrifically bloody nine-month-long battle, 40,000 homes need rebuilding. 

Across the country, only half of the five million people displaced by Isis have been able to return home so far.

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