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05 December 2023

Iraq reconstruction worth $150bn

By VM Sathish



A high-level delegation of Iraqi officials and private sector firms are in Dubai to attract investors and suppliers to participate in rebuilding the war-torn infrastructure of the country.

International experts estimate to generate business worth $150 billion (Dh550bn). About $60bn-$70bn is needed to fully implement the projects already under way.

The delegation includes Iraqi Defence Minister Abdul Qadir Obeidi, National Security Affairs Minister Sherwin Shirwan Al Waili, Acting Communications Minister Jassim Mohammed Ja’fer and Kurdish RG Interior Minister Karim Sinjari 

According to John Glassey, Managing Director of the Iraq Development Programme (IDP), demand for materials and technology within the key sectors of the Iraqi economy will generate business worth more than $150bn. The IDP estimates said $60-$70 billion is needed to fully implement the projects already under way in sectors such as oil and gas, energy, construction, health, education, security and transport.

Projecting Iraq with the potential to become the highest revenue-generating country in the Middle East, Iraq Defence, Security and Communication conference organisers said the summit is endorsed by several business chambers from around the world.

IDP is an initiative to develop Iraq into an economic force as the country has the potential to earn between $10bn and $15bn from oil sales over the next few years. The oil production objective is to produce six million barrels per day by 2010.

The summit, organised by IDP in Dubai until tomorrow, is addressed, among others, by Paul Brinkley, Deputy Undersecretary of Defence, US Department of Defence, and other high-profile personnel. Leading defence and security contractors, including Raytheon Corporation, BAE Systems, EADS, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, have participated in the round-table discussion with several high-profile Iraqi officials from the defence, interior and telecommunication ministries and the regional government of Kurdistan.

According to IDP, coalition forces do not have sufficient time or resources to protect all of the organisations and individuals involved in the development of Iraq. “The security industry has a crucial role to play in providing services to visitors working on both short-term and long-term basis in Iraq. Opportunities are available for suppliers of security and emergency service infrastructure, including ambulances and emergency equipment, fire trucks and fire-fighting equipment, and police motorcycles.

There is also a need for closed-circuit television, control systems and anti-burglar alarms, perimeter protection, surveillance and telecommunications equipment, IT security, identification processing, and uniforms and protective clothing. Companies dealing in crowd and access control management will also have an important role to play,” IDP said in its communique.

The second day of the summit today will focus on communication infrastructure in Iraq and the participants include Ali Dahwi, General Manager of Zain Iraq, and senior officials.

“Demand for communication within Iraq varies greatly, with many opportunities for companies looking to help restore Iraq’s telecommunications network. A variety of products and services is needed within the sector, from wired and wireless networks for voice, data and internet services to other equipment such as cables, telecom masts and antennae, public networks and repair equipment. There is a huge need for investment in the sector, with the Ministry of Communications looking to generate significant funds to implement its regeneration programme.

The reconstruction of Iraq has created a huge demand for building equipment and basic building materials, finishing products, engineering skills, technology and environmental awareness and maintenance systems. There is a shortage of 1.4 million housing units and the poor quality of existing structures mean that Iraq’s housing market has high potential in the country. Prisons and schools too have to be constructed.

Iraq has an extensive network of about 38,000 km of roads and highways, the majority of which were constructed in the 1970s and 1980s, needing immediate maintenance. The strain caused by both heavy military use and trucks have added to the problems.

There are more than 1,000 bridges in Iraq. These bridges are in varying states of disrepair. Some of the bridges are only temporary pontoon bridges that need permanent structures, the IDP said.