Iraq seeks $100bn to reconstruct transport, agriculture and oil sectors

Local residents remove bodies from the rubble in the Old City of Mosul. Cities across Iraq have been destroyed by years of war with as much as $100 billion needed for the reconstruction effort. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Iraq seeks $100bn to reconstruct transport, agriculture and oil sectors

BAGHDAD: Iraq is seeksing around $100 billion in foreign investment in transport, energy and agriculture as part of a plan to rebuild parts of the country and revive the economy after a three-year war on Daesh.
The government’s National Investment Commission published a list of 157 projects it will seek investment for at an International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq to be hosted by Kuwait Feb. 12 to 14.
Some of these projects are about rebuilding destroyed facilities like Mosul’s airport, while others are new investments to strengthen and diversify the economy away from oil, said an economic adviser to Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.
“All together, they cost about $100 billion,” the adviser, Mudhar Saleh, told Reuters. Sixteen projects carry a price tag of $500 million or more, according to the list.
Rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools, roads, businesses and telecommunications is key to providing jobs to the young, to end the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and put an end to several decades of political and sectarian violence.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December, having taken back all the territory captured by the militants in 2014 and 2015. A US-led coalition supported the Iraqi forces, especially in the battle to dislodge them from Mosul, their de facto capital in northern Iraq, in July.
The US government will not contribute funds at the conference but will instead encourage investment from the private sector and Gulf Arab allies, US and Western officials said.
A US official in Baghdad said 100 US companies were participating in the conference.
Three rail projects top the list: A 500-kilometer (311 mile) line from Baghdad to Basra in the south estimated to cost $13.7 billion, a line from Baghdad to Mosul in the north estimated at $8.65 billion and an $8 billion metro for the capital.
Iraq reopened to foreign investment in 2003 after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, but the vast majority of the billions invested went to increasing its oil and gas production.
It has become the second-largest crude exporter of OPEC, after Saudi Arabia, with a daily output of 4.4 million barrels.
At the conference, Iraq will seek investment in the downstream oil industry including in storage tanks, refineries and petrochemical plants to process its crude into plastics and fertilizers.
Saleh said investments in the oil industry and agriculture will probably be easier to attract than other sectors given the country’s vast crude reserves, available land and water wealth.
Total land offered for investments to grow “strategic crops” is nearly 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles). Iraq, one of the world’s largest wheat importers, aims to achieve self-sufficiency and possibly become a net exporter of the grain.
“We feel there will be support for Iraq, from the Americans, the Europeans, the Arab countries, the United Nations, and humanitarian organizations,” said Saleh.


Saudi Arabia flat, Drake and Scull International lifts Dubai

Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia flat, Drake and Scull International lifts Dubai

  • The Saudi index was little changed, while the Dubai index closed up 0.2 percent
  • Shares in Saudi oil and gas and petrochemical companies were mostly down

DUBAI: Gulf stock markets were mostly flat on Sunday amid low trading volumes and a lack of significant events.
The Saudi index was little changed, while the Dubai index closed up 0.2 percent. The rest of the region closed down, but with losses limited.
Global stocks dipped last Friday because of persistent concerns over trade tensions. Oil prices also slipped on Friday, with Brent crude futures falling 79 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $78.51 a barrel. But the dip came after a sixth week of gains, with prices breaking through $80 a barrel last week for the first time since November 2014.
Shares in Saudi oil and gas and petrochemical companies were mostly down on Sunday, despite some gains earlier in the day. Blue-chip Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) shed 0.2 percent, while Saudi Kayan Petrochemical edged down 0.1 percent.
Most of the trading was concentrated on real estate developer Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co., which was up 0.4 percent, and Alinma Bank, down 0.1 percent.
Real estate developer Jabal Omar Development was among the best performers, up 3.9 percent at the close – and it had been up more than 6 percent in earlier trading – after announcing an agreement with Albilad Capital to sell 90 housing units for 1.1 billion riyals ($293 million).
In Dubai, the index was lifted by gains of 2 percent and 1.7 percent by Dubai Financial Market and building contractor Drake and Scull International, respectively.
Drake and Scull International, by far the most traded stock in the market, reported last week a net profit attributable to shareholders of 16.2 million dirhams ($4.4 million) for the first quarter, swinging from a net loss of 722.5 million dirhams in the corresponding period last year.
Heavyweight Emaar Properties climbed 0.2 percent after a weak start earlier on Sunday.
The Abu Dhabi index edged down 0.1 percent, pressured by Sharjah Cement and Industrial Development Company, which lost 4.8 percent and was the most traded stock.
The Egyptian index lost 0.6 percent, but the most traded stock was Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding , which gained 2.4 percent.