Iraq desperately needs $90bn to fix war-torn country following Isis battles


Rebuilding Iraq after three-years of war with the so-called Islamic State (IS) will cost $88.2 billion, just under half of the country's 2016 GDP (World Bank), according to Iraqi officials at an global conference in Kuwait.

The $88.2 billion estimate was based on an assessment study by Iraqi and global experts, the planning minister said.

About $23 billion will be needed in the short term and more than $65 billion in the medium term, the director-general of Iraq's planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, told the conference.

It will cost nearly $90bn (£65.1bn) to rebuild war-torn Iraq after three years of bitter fighting with Islamic State (Isis).

The Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called on all friendly countries as well as global organizations to meet in Kuwait and support the efforts in rebuilding Iraq.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015.

The State Department has said it will not be making "direct contributions" to finance the reconstruction efforts but that over 150 American companies would travel to Kuwait as part of its private sector drive for the conference.

The housing sector has the most urgent need for funds, said Raja Rehan Arshad, the lead disaster risk management specialist for the World Bank.

"We have more than 138,000 houses damaged, more than half this number completely destroyed", Hiti said, adding that more than 2.5 million Iraqis are still displaced.

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Arriving in Kuwait for the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said his country would "stand by the Iraqi people forever".

"What we have accomplished is less than one percent of what Iraq needs", Hiti said.

We maintain that participation of the global community in the reconstruction of Iraq is a necessary move in the right direction.

"I have come to tell you of France's support to accompany you".

The US, the largest backer in the global coalition against Isis, has no plans to pledge any cash in this conference, American officials told Reuters.

Billions of dollars poured into Iraq after the 2003 US -led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, with what feels now like little visible effect. "We will also be there in the reconstruction phase", Le Drian said after landing in Baghdad.

Iraqi forces are backed by an worldwide coalition led by the United States, which pounds militant strongholds from the air.

The Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq kicked off Monday in Kuwait City, Kuwait's capital, with the focus on post-war reconstruction of Iraq and vital issues concerned.