The World Bank president pointed to a recent US$350 million Bank-supported project that entrusted local authorities to rebuild infrastructure and restore services in areas liberated from Da’esh. It was an example of how bringing government closer to citizens underpins stability by restoring confidence in the state’s ability to meet basic needs
The speech also urged parliamentarians to unite around efforts to open up and diversify the economy, as another important step in unlocking Iraq’s immense potential. “You, the representatives of the people,” said Kim, “have the capacity to adopt laws that would open the door wide for young entrepreneurs, who are eager to take risks and engage in new ventures.”
In managing the financial crisis, Kim indicated that there was far more Iraq could do to strengthen its financial sustainability by improving the management of public funds and eliminating waste. Reforming energy subsidies was especially urgent as they were contributing to pervasive shortages of electricity. Replacing subsidies with cash transfers would better target and empower the most vulnerable.
Greater public scrutiny of government spending would also, Kim suggested, increase efficiency and contribute to the national priority of fighting corruption. Kim also said that a clear commitment to reforms would build confidence, which he hoped would lead to greater international support for coping with the impact of low oil prices.
The World Bank Group president also proposed using financial incentives to encourage local governments to be more accountable to citizens and provide better quality services. In view of the size of its economy and its strategic geographic location, Kim observed that the stakes were high in Iraq. “We believe that Iraq’s success could bring stability and prosperity to hundreds of millions of people," said Kim.