WASHINGTON, July 7, 2015 – A new World Bank project in Iraq will support the reconstruction of the country’s conflict-wrecked infrastructure and restore public services in municipal areas under Government control. The US$350 million financial assistance package, approved by the World Bank Board of Directors today, will contribute to Iraq’s efforts to rebuild state institutions and put the economy on the path to recovery in areas where conflict has subsided.
The Iraq Emergency Operation for Development aims to respond to the crisis caused by the security situation and the sharp decrease in global oil prices. It is part of a larger program to be carried out over a five-year period in two conflict-affected governorates, Salah Al-Din and Diyala, covering seven cities: Tikrit, Dour, Al Dalooeyya, Al-Alam, Jalula, As-Sadiya and Al-AAzeeam.
In its first year, the project will support the repair and reconstruction of damaged power, water and sanitation networks as well roads and bridges. It would improve healthcare services by supporting mobile hospitals and clinics, medical equipment and ambulances. Separately, a scheme will be designed for rebuilding houses damaged in the conflict. These activities should help promote trust between citizens and the state, and generate local jobs.
“This is a challenging, extremely important operation for which the Bank is playing its role fully by accepting to take on the risks associated to any engagement in fragile settings,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for the Mashreq region. “The project focuses on immediate needs by improving critical services in areas that had been distressed by conflict, but also builds on the medium term sustainability that strengthened institutions can secure, and aims at improving the relationship between citizens and the state through dynamic engagement.”
The Government of Iraq’s recovery strategy is to jumpstart the delivery of basic services and rehabilitate critical infrastructure in areas free of the insurgency. Close, continuous coordination will ensure the activities financed benefit the areas to which internally displaced people are expected to return. “Iraq has enormous development needs,” said Ibrahim Dajani, World Bank Senior Operations Officer and Project Team Leader, “and we are working very closely with our counterparts on tackling these needs. The project lays the groundwork for a medium- to longer- term development agenda, covering multiple sectors such as health, housing, transport corridors, urban development.”
The Performance and Learning Review for Iraq was also discussed by the Bank’s Board of Directors today. The report is a mid-term assessment of the World Bank Group’s strategy for its Fiscal Years 2013–2016. It reviews the Bank’s country program and proposes changes as a result of the new challenges facing Iraq, such as revising the pillars of the strategy, extending the strategy validity by an additional year and reprograming the lending to Iraq towards the government emerging priorities.