Iraq seeks US$88.2b for reconstruction, says minister

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

'The Kuwait Conference for Iraq this week is an opportunity for world leaders to show that we are willing to invest in children - and through investing in children, that we are willing to invest in rebuilding a stable Iraq'.

About $22 billion will be required in the short term and another $66 billion in the medium term, the director-general of the country's planning ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, told the conference, without indicating any timeframe.

"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world", Iraqi Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili told donors and investors gathered in Kuwait for three days to discuss efforts to rebuild the country's economy and infrastructure.

He made the remarks at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI).

Mahlab highlighted the rise in economic growth rates, noting that Egypt's economic reforms and development plans have actually started to bear fruit but they still need to be given more time to prove their complete success and to really reflect on the daily lives of citizens.

Around 70 humanitarian organizations, including 25 from Iraq and 15 from Kuwait, will partake in the conference.

Non-governmental organizations pledged $330 million U.S. in humanitarian aid to Iraq at a parallel NGO conference on the sidelines of the main reconstruction one, Kuwait's state news agency KUNA reported.

"We have more than 138,000 houses damaged, more than half this number completely destroyed", Hiti said, adding that more than 2.5 million Iraqis are still displaced.

Baghdad is determined to clamp down on "bureaucratic routine and corruption that in some cases are delaying investments", he said, responding to complaints by Kuwait companies about the difficulties of doing business in Iraq. Iraq is the 10th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International.

Since the 1980s, resource-rich Iraq has been battered by war and worldwide economic sanctions.

Billions of dollars poured into Iraq after the 2003 USA -led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

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