Iraq puts reconstruction challenge in hands of global investors

Iraqis stand in front of the destroyed Al-Hadba minaret at the Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul's Old City, on Feb. 10, 2018, during a gathering to call on international organizations to proceed with the reconstruction of the city. Iraqi forces seized the country's second city from Daesh group jihadists seven months ago. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2018

Iraq puts reconstruction challenge in hands of global investors

FALLUJAH: The vast scale of rebuilding Iraq after Daesh’s devastating control of large areas of the country can be seen in microcosm in Fallujah.
Essaa Al-Sayer, the city’s mayor, told Arab News that more than 37,000 houses are partially damaged and 1,700 completely destroyed in the city and its outskirts.
Daesh militants relied on tactics that killed the highest number of people and caused the largest possible destruction, including huge suicide truck bombs.
A lot of the damage was also caused in the fighting when the Iraqi Army launched its operation to retake the city.
But the devastation of Fallujah is nothing compared with that of cities such as Ramadi, the capital of the vast desert province of Anbar, Mosul, the capital of Nineveh and the second largest city by population, and Baiji, one of the big towns of Salahuddin province.
Tens of thousands of houses were either destroyed or damaged in these cities, Iraqi federal officials told Arab News. Nineveh Province topped the list of the most affected areas.
The ruins of the old city of Mosul is the largest in Iraq, with 11,500 houses and shops destroyed and 35,000 partially destroyed.
People are still unable to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones buried in the rubble because of the booby traps, which are constantly exploding on civil defense teams, Mosul’s local officials told Arab News.
In December, Iraq declared the full liberation of its territories and the end of the three year-long war against Daesh, which seized lands in the north and west of the country in 2014.
The Iraqi Ministry of Planning has estimated the total cost of reconstruction of the affected cities at $100 billion, including the restoration of infrastructure and economic development.
Iraq, in coordination with Kuwait and the International Monetary Fund, is holding on Monday the largest international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq with more than 2,300 companies from 70 countries.
The conference, hosted by Kuwait, will last for three days and the Iraqi government will call on the international community to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq by financing some of the reconstruction projects.
More than 157 strategic projects will be launched for investment.
Forty-one of them are to build residential complexes, oil refineries, airports, railways, bridges, subways, and petrochemical factories, said Iraqi officials involved in the preparations of the conference.
“We do not rely too much on grants given by participating countries to secure the amount needed to rebuild Iraq.Our true reliance is on investment,” Abdulzahra Al-Hindawi, the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, told Arab News.
“Iraq will present a package of investments and we believe that there are many companies willing to work in Iraq.
“We hope that the investment will move the ball of reconstruction and launch it.”

Dubai government employees to start returning to work on Sunday

Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road deserted during the coronavirus curfew imposed by authorities. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 15 sec ago

Dubai government employees to start returning to work on Sunday

  • Emirate is ‘heading in the right direction’ as it gradually reopens following success in handling pandemic

DUBAI: Half of Dubai’s government employees can return to their offices on Sunday, and the rest will be able to go back on June 14, the emirate’s government announced Wednesday.

The return to work will, however, be made with “intensified precautionary measures,” to protect workers, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said. 

“Our investments in the future paid off sooner than expected,” he also said on Twitter. “It is reassuring to know we’re heading in the right direction.”

Many businesses across retail, entertainment, sports and fitness industries have already been allowed to reopen. On Monday, Dubai announced it would be easing restrictions on movement, allowing people to move freely between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. from Wednesday. 

Sheikh Hamdan also hailed the Dubai government’s handling of the crisis, saying no “vital services were affected despite the precautionary measures and movement restrictions imposed.”

The UAE reported 31,086 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday; with more than half of those infected having recovered. The country’s death toll currently stands at 253.