France FM visits Iraq to discuss reconstruction

16 2017 shows Iraqi volunteers salvaging and cleaning up the debris and destruction in the Bab al Saray area in the old city of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul

The World Bank's private sector arm urged worldwide companies on Sunday to overcome concerns about funding reconstruction projects in Iraq and seize high-yield investment opportunities in the country.

"I don't think that in any other part of the world there are such investment opportunities", Badr said in a speech at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, giving as an example a Lebanese firm making a 24 per cent return on its stake in a luxury hotel in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Iraq needs around $22bn in the short term and another $66bn in the medium term, said the director-general of the country's planning ministry Qusay Adulfattah.

He said Egypt has managed to add 25,000 megawatts of power to its network, established 500 kilometers of roads and built fisheries of the biggest kind in the world in addition to being a strong fighter in the war on terrorism.

Iraq has published a list of some 157 projects for which it is seeking private investments at the conference, which some 1,900 delegates representing foreign governments, private firms and NGOs have registered to attend.

Mahlab highlighted the rise in economic growth rates, noting that Egypt's economic reforms and development plans have actually started to bear fruit but they still need to be given more time to prove their complete success and to really reflect on the daily lives of citizens. He said there were preliminary indications that some states would do so.

The spokesman also noted that the International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq is mainly aimed at gathering financial support from different international sources for the reconstruction of the Arab country, particularly its war-torn areas, paving the way for offering lasting solutions to the internal conflicts, modernization of Iraq's local and national capacities, improving Iraq's social structure, creating balance between reconstruction projects and national reconciliation efforts and attracting foreign investments.

Baghdad has said it is determined to tackle the red tape and corruption that hamper investment.

Iraq has been dogged for decades by violence and instability.

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