Al-Araji: Iraq Needs $1 Trillion to Rebuild

 By John Lee.

Iraq needs up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure and battered economy, the head of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Sami al-Araji (pictured), said at the Baghdad International Fair.

"We are talking about the reconstruction of Iraq, a minimum requirement of money ... is about $600-700 billion dollars, and could go all the way to $1 trillion", he said.

He added that much of that money could come from Iraq's rocketing exports of crude oil, which account for the lion's share of government income, but "some will have to come from foreign and domestic direct investment."

According to a report from AFP, the figure is a marked increase from $186 billion targeted for 2010 to 2014 -- $100 billion of which would be from oil sales and the balance from private investment.

For now, however, investment levels remain sharply lower than those the investment commission chief predicts will be necessary.

According to Araji, Iraq had granted investment licences to both foreign and domestic investors in the past three years worth around $32 billion, most of which was from local sources.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month the country needed to direct $530 billion solely towards energy infrastructure in the next 23 years, peaking at an annual average of $25 billion this decade.

(Source: AFP)

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