Iraq seeks US$88.2b for reconstruction, says minister

MOSUL IRAQ- JANUARY 25: Destroyed buildings are seen in Mosul Iraq after 9 months long anti Daesh operations

Iraq is hoping to raise billions of dollars at a donor conference starting on Monday in Kuwait - to finance the reconstruction after its campaign against ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS).

The conference, which took place in Kuwait, involved donors and investors discussing efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure following the defeat of ISIS jihadists who conquered almost a third of the country. The funding is also meant to help law enforcement and women's participation in rebuilding the community.

The Iraqi government declared victory over the Islamic State group in December after recapturing the northern city of Mosul and other areas from the extremists.

However, the secretary-general of Iraq's Council of Ministers Mahdi al-Alaq said nations could it help by acting as guarantors with global lenders.

"If communities in Iraq and Syria can not return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a donors' conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait.

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The conference kicked off Monday in Kuwait City, Kuwait's capital, with the focus on postwar reconstruction of Iraq and vital issues concerned.

Director General of the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development Abdel Wahab Badr, Secretary General of the Iraqi Cabinet Mahdi al Alaaq and Head of Iraq Fund for Reconstruction of Damaged Areas from Terrorism Mostafa al Heiti are attending the conference.

But the fightback left much of the country devastated.

The country sits on some of the world s largest crude reserves, which Baghdad puts at 153 billion barrels, but the war and a slump in world prices have diminished its oil revenues.

The projects introduced include building oil refineries and developing oilfields, in addition to massive housing and industrial ventures as well as at least four power plants.

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The conference brings together hundreds of representatives of countries, aid groups, United Nations agencies and corporations.

"Sustainable return is not just about bricks and mortar", Bruno Geddo, UNHCR s representative in Iraq, said in a statement.

The speakers said the size of the damage and the lack of basic services has made living in those areas nearly impossible, confirming the need to help the displaced and to facilitate their lives and work to return them to their areas after rehabilitating them. One out of four Iraqi children across the country live in poverty in the nation of 37 million people.

The officials made their declaration at an global donors' conference hosted by Kuwait.

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The US, which has been leading a military coalition purportedly fighting Daesh, claims it has played a major role in Iraq's war against terrorists. "We will also be there in the reconstruction phase", Le Drian said after landing in Baghdad.

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