In response to a request from the Government of Iraq, up to $500 million in soft loans will be made available over the next two years to finance development projects in priority sectors, the World Bank announced earlier this week at an international donors meeting for Iraq at the Dead Sea in Jordan.
This lending package is the first to be extended by the World Bank to Iraq since 1973.
“The proposed loans are part and parcel of the lending framework pledged in Madrid at the first international donor conference for Iraq in 2003, said Christiaan Poortman, Vice President for Middle East and North Africa. “We made a commitment to support the development and reconstruction efforts using World Bank resources, if and when the Iraqi authorities request it.”
As part of an interim strategy to support Iraq’s reconstruction, the World Bank has been administering the Iraq Trust Fund - one of two trust funds under the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq—designed to provide swift, flexible and coordinated donor financing for priority investments and capacity-building in Iraq. To ensure sustainable economic recovery and Iraqi ownership of the reconstruction process, Iraqi institutions fully implement projects financed by the World Bank Iraq Trust Fund.
To date, donors committed nearly $400 million in grants to the World Bank-managed Iraq Trust Fund which financed training for approximately 1000 Iraqi civil servants in integral areas of project management, including procurement, financial management, and safeguards. The Trust Fund also financed the printing of some 70 million textbooks that were delivered to classrooms across the country during the last school year.