Iraqi reconstruction to cost $88 billion

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Rebuilding Iraq after three-years of war with the so-called Islamic State group will cost $88.2 billion, just under half of the country’s 2016 GDP (World Bank), according to Iraqi officials at an international conference in Kuwait.

“Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world,” said Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili, adding that it also fell on the international community to aid reconstruction.

Donors and financiers gathered at the conference for the week will try to work out a plan to rebuild Iraq’s crumbling infrastructure and cratering economy. The country’s GDP plummeted from $234.6 billion in 2014 to $171.5 billion in 2016 (World Bank), a drop of almost 27 percent.

Non-governmental organizations have pledged $330 million in humanitarian aid, according to Kuwait state news agency KUNA as reported by Reuters. The United States, which led the coalition that provided the Iraqi armed forces with crucial air-support in the fight against IS, does not plan on pledging any money at the Kuwait conference, according to American officials. However, the U.S. provided Iraq with over $600 million in humanitarian funding for the fiscal year of 2017, according to U.S. Aid.

Officials said housing was an urgent priority – the war damaged some 138,000 housing units, of which half had been completely destroyed. Around 2.5 million Iraqis remain displaced by the brutal fighting.

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