By John Lee.
The United Kingdom has agreed to provide up to £10 billion ($12 billion) of support to Iraq over the next 10 years through loans to infrastructure development projects under UK Export Finance (UKEF).
British Ambassador Frank Baker and Iraq's Acting Minister for Finance Abdlrazaq Alissa [Abdul Razzak al-Essa] signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sunday, reaffirming the UK’s commitment to its friendship with Iraq, and its support for continued economic cooperation and development.
Reuters quotes the Iraqi Minister as telling a press conference that the loans are exclusively allocated to British companies, with interest rates being set when the contracts are agreed.
In a statement, the British Embassy in Baghdad said:
"This particular MoU will support investment in critical infrastructure in Iraq. This infrastructure, like water and electricity, will improve the lives of millions of Iraqis. It will also help reinvigorate the private sector in Iraq, and may lead to new jobs for Iraqis.
"UK Export Finance (UKEF) is able to consider applications to support eligible infrastructure development projects in Iraq where the project sources goods and services from the UK. The support can take the form of loan guarantees or direct loans.
"UKEF and the Government of Iraq are already exploring a number of projects for support under the MoU which will benefit from high-quality goods and services from the UK, and improve quality of life across Iraq."
(Source: UK FCO, Reuters)