As the new Iraqi parliament remained deadlocked on the formation of a new government, frustrated Iraqis took to the summer streets in protest at the government's failure to provide an adequate and reliable supply of electricity.
With peak temperatures of nearly 50C (120F), and many Iraqis still getting less than six hours of electricity per day, it is easy to understand their anger.
According to the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, “what we saw in Basra on Saturday was a warning. It was the writing on the wall. The anger [the demonstrators] showed was extraordinary”, he said.
For many, both within the country and internationally, these events highlight the urgent need to invest in basic infrastructure, and the potential consequences of neglecting the needs of the population.
While some may find it distasteful to call this crisis an opportunity, it is very clear that there is a huge demand to be met, and not just regarding the provision of power. A recent report claimed that it is not unusual for government agencies to return their allocated funds to the Treasury because they are unable to spend them. The reason: the non-availability of contractors to do the job!
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