From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is looking to strengthen its economy after decades of war, sanctions, sectarian division and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

It has achieved some progress in recent years thanks to its oil industry; Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and oil provides roughly 85 percent of the government’s revenue.

As the country enters a period of relative calm, Iraq’s oil minister, Thamer Ghadhban, says the government is working to expand its oil industries and improve infrastructure, which includes building more refineries and investing in southern gas fields and export routes.

By John Lee.

President Barham Salih has highlighted the need to address the obstacles impeding the work of the private sector in Iraq.

Addressing a delegation from the Iraqi Federation of Chambers of Commerce at his Office in Baghdad, the President stressed the importance of enhancing the role of the private sector in reconstruction.

Mr. Abdul Razzaq al-Zuhairi, the Head of the Federation, said he valued the President’s support for the private sector.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi President)

By John Lee.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mr. Mohamad A. Alhakim received Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the Ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad; they reviewed bilateral relations, areas of joint cooperation between Baghdad and Ankara, as well as regional issues and mutual interest.

Minister Alhakim called for Turkish companies to contribute to the reconstruction of liberated areas, focussing on infrastructure, to ensure the return of displaced families to their homes.

He also stressed the need to activate a loan agreed with Turkey at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference last year in Kuwait.

(Source: MOFA)

By John Lee.

Approximately $64 million has reportedly been embezzled in Mosul by officials said to be close to the recently-sacked governor, Nawfel Akoub, who is currently on the run following a warrant for his arrest in relation to the Mosul ferry disaster.

AFP quotes Iraq’s Integrity Commission as saying that officials “close to Akoub” had stolen the funds, but did not accuse him personally.

Some $40 million of the money had been set aside to rebuild Mosul (pictured) following the drawn-out battle to oust the Daesh terrorist group.

(Source: AFP)

Sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Rome, and in coordination with the Federation of Italian Industries, the Iraqi Conference on Investment and Reconstruction was held at the end of March to discuss investment opportunities and the contribution of Italian companies in the reconstruction of Iraq.

Representatives of more than 200 Italian companies witnessed the participation of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Directors-general, officials of oil and transport ministries, Baghdad investment, and representatives of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce from the Iraqi side and from the Italian side by Italian Undersecretary of State for Development and Economy, the Italian Ambassador in Baghdad.

The conference also witnessed the holding of meetings between the representatives of the Iraqi authorities and Italian companies to discuss investment opportunities in the fields of energy, oil, agriculture and infrastructure.

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has welcomed an additional contribution of USD 5.4 million from the Government of Japan to support reconstruction and peacebuilding in Iraq through the rehabilitation of war-damaged houses and construction of low-cost housing units in key liberated cities.

More than one year from the declaration of the military victory over so-called ISIL in 2017, more than 1.7 million people are still displaced in Iraq. The rehabilitation of severely damaged structures and rebuilding of fully destroyed houses are extremely costly and require robust engineering expertise. IDPs with their severely damaged or fully destroyed homes are still in dire need of support.

Through the additional funding UN-Habitat will be able to continue its community-based interventions and the rehabilitation of “severely damaged” houses and the construction of low-cost housing units to accommodate vulnerable returnees whose houses are “destroyed.”

Returnees and members of affected communities will be trained on skills required for the works and recruited under the project to support rebuilding their livelihoods. Approximately 2,500 returnees are expected to benefit from this project, and priorities will be given to vulnerable households including female-headed households, those with elderly, infants and children under age 6, or physically impaired.

His Excellency Mr. Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Iraq said:

“Japan has recently decided a new assistance package for Iraq amounting to US$ 63 million, including this project as a contribution to the housing sector. With this package, the total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by the crisis reaches US$ 500 million.”

UN-Habitat is grateful to the people and the Government of Japan for their continuous generous support which allows integration of the New Urban Agenda and physical interventions for post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.

The development of sites for low-cost housing units designed to accommodate vulnerable displaced people who lost their homes is one of the pillars of the “Housing Reconstruction Strategy” recently developed by the Government of Iraq and UN-Habitat to enhance and accelerate housing reconstruction and development in conflict-affected areas.

With a contribution of approximately $50 million since 2015, the Government of Japan has been a vital partner to UN-Habitat’s Iraq Programme.

(Source: UN)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is rehabilitating 15,000 houses in West Mosul, bringing the total number of houses in its stabilization portfolio to more than 30,000 – the largest of its kind in Iraq.

The project in West Mosul covers 29 neighbourhoods that were hardest hit during the fight to liberate the city from the Islamic State, including the Old City where the militants declared their caliphate. It will enable 90,000 people to return home.

“This rehabilitation project is a critical step for families wanting to settle back into their homes in Mosul after three years of turmoil and hardship,” says Head of UNDP’s Stabilization programme, Dr. Mohammed siddig Mudawi.

“We know it works. Through our successful projects in Ramadi and Fallujah, as well as Bartella and Bashiqa in the Ninewa Plains, we’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative impact that our housing rehabilitation work has had on communities,” he adds.

Priority for housing is given to the most vulnerable – female-headed households, households run by a minor, people living with a disability, and households where the breadwinner has not had employment in the last three years.

Essential elements such as rebuilding and plastering walls, securing windows and doors, undertaking electrical work and restoring sanitation are incorporated into the rehabilitation, plus additional items for people living with a disability, such as ramps and seated toilets.

Neighbourhoods were selected in consultation with the provincial government and Mayor’s office based on numbers of returnees and level of damage sustained. All housing repairs are agreed to by the homeowner and the local Muktar prior to commencement, and work is monitored by government-appointed committees.

Rehabilitation of the first group of houses will be complete by end of March. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November 2019.

Approximately 800 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, and providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets.

Photos of the West Mosul housing project are available here to download. Contact Fay Daoud on the details below if you would like to use any photos.

(Source: UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is rehabilitating 15,000 houses in West Mosul, bringing the total number of houses in its stabilization portfolio to more than 30,000 – the largest of its kind in Iraq.

The project in West Mosul covers 29 neighbourhoods that were hardest hit during the fight to liberate the city from the Islamic State, including the Old City where the militants declared their caliphate. It will enable 90,000 people to return home.

“This rehabilitation project is a critical step for families wanting to settle back into their homes in Mosul after three years of turmoil and hardship,” says Head of UNDP’s Stabilization programme, Dr. Mohammed siddig Mudawi.

“We know it works. Through our successful projects in Ramadi and Fallujah, as well as Bartella and Bashiqa in the Ninewa Plains, we’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative impact that our housing rehabilitation work has had on communities,” he adds.

Priority for housing is given to the most vulnerable – female-headed households, households run by a minor, people living with a disability, and households where the breadwinner has not had employment in the last three years.

Essential elements such as rebuilding and plastering walls, securing windows and doors, undertaking electrical work and restoring sanitation are incorporated into the rehabilitation, plus additional items for people living with a disability, such as ramps and seated toilets.

Neighbourhoods were selected in consultation with the provincial government and Mayor’s office based on numbers of returnees and level of damage sustained. All housing repairs are agreed to by the homeowner and the local Muktar prior to commencement, and work is monitored by government-appointed committees.

Rehabilitation of the first group of houses will be complete by end of March. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November 2019.

Approximately 800 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, and providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets.

Photos of the West Mosul housing project are available here to download. Contact Fay Daoud on the details below if you would like to use any photos.

(Source: UNDP)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In Iraq, reconstruction remains a daunting obstacle to displaced people returning home.

The government has allocated money and established commissions for people to file for assistance.

But there is little sign of that money being used for reconstruction after years of war that devastated the country.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Mosul:

The EU has announced an additional €30 million in humanitarian assistance. Another €20 million in development funding will contribute to the reconstruction of the country’s cultural heritage, as well as the creation of jobs and opportunities for vulnerable youth.

The announcement was made by Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (pictured), on the occasion of his sixth visit to Iraq today.

Commissioner Stylianides said:

Each time I visit Iraq, I see the hope of its people despite the challenging circumstances. At this critical moment for the country, our new funding reaffirms the EU’s commitment to stand in solidarity with all Iraqis and will help the most vulnerable.”

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica added:

The EU is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq. With today’s new support, we will help to restore the rich cultural heritage of Mosul and Basrah, and at the same time create much needed jobs and opportunities.”

Whilst in Iraq, Commissioner Stylianides, alongside Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, visited Mosul, where schools and hospitals are being supported by EU funding to help the most vulnerable get access to essential services. In Erbil, the Commissioner visited camps hosting thousands displaced by conflict. In Baghdad, the Commissioner held meetings with the Iraqi authorities.

Humanitarian assistance: The new EU humanitarian assistance worth €30 million will include protection, emergency healthcare, basic shelter, food, safe water, sanitation and hygiene to those in the greatest need throughout the country. These include Iraqis who remain displaced and Syrian refugees in Iraq. It will provide mental health support, increasing services for survivors of sexual violence, and ensuring physical therapy and rehabilitation to war-wounded. Furthermore, the EU will support the resumption of basic public services including health, education, and water supply in war-affected areas, such as Mosul, western Anbar and Hawija.

Development cooperation: The €20 million development cooperation will provide tailored technical and vocation training opportunities for youth in the construction sector, to help to recover the historic urban landscape of Mosul and Basrah. In addition, it will provide small grants to Small and Medium Enterprises and associations, with a focus on the revival of socio-economic and cultural activities. This funding, to be signed on 21 February, is part of the flagship initiative ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ run by UNESCO, and designed to foster social cohesion and promote peace. With the full support of the Government of Iraq, the initiative will focus the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage, as well as the revival of educational and cultural institutions. This measure is part of the EU’s pledge at the Iraq Reconstruction Conference held in Kuwait in February 2018.

Today’s funding announcement brings total EU humanitarian assistance to Iraq to €420 million and development cooperation to €309 million since the beginning of the crisis in 2015.

(Source: EU)