(KUWAIT CITY) — It will take a staggering $88.2 billion to rebuild parts of Iraq devastated by the war against ISIS, according to the country’s minister of planning.
During an international donors conference in Kuwait regarding Iraq reconstruction, Salman Al-Jameeli said in a statement Tuesday that “$22.9 billion [is] needed for Iraq in the short term, [and] $65.4 billion over the medium term.”
The funds would go to the vast swaths of Iraqi territories seized by ISIS during the jihadist group’s brutal conquest that started in June 2014, the minister said.
Seven governorates across Iraq — including Ninawa, which encompasses the county’s second-largest city of Mosul — suffered about $46 billion in total damages. In addition, Iraq’s security sector sustained $14 billion in total damages, while Iraqi banks lost $10 billion in cash assets, according to the minister.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who attended the donors conference, did not offer any new direct aid pledges to Iraq. But, he announced a $3 billion financial package from the Export–Import Bank of the United States, which includes loan guarantees and insurance to spur American investment in Iraq.
Tillerson also urged members of the international coalition battling ISIS to help rebuild Iraq.
“As we celebrate these victories over extremism and hatred, we know they were hard-won, and they came at a very high price. Much work remains to rebuild Iraq and modernize its economy,” Tillerson said in remarks made at the conference Tuesday. “Everyone in this room has an opportunity to help set Iraq on a new course and contribute to its long-term development success.”
An official with the U.S. Department of State told ABC News the conference was “never intended to be a pledging conference, but rather the initial roll-out on behalf of the Iraqi government.”
In October 2016, Iraqi forces as well as Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, launched a massive operation to liberate Mosul from ISIS control. The fight affected densely populated neighborhoods within the war-torn city and had displaced nearly 192,000 people by March 2017, according to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in December 2017. By the end of the year, while 3.2 million people had returned to their homes, another 2.6 million remained displaced in Iraq, according to the United Nations migration agency.
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