The World Bank on Monday signed three grant agreements with representatives from the interim Iraqi government for reconstruction and development projects in Iraq totaling $145 million.
Financed by the World Bank’s Iraq Trust Fund, $90 million will be channeled to emergency projects in health, water supply and sanitation, and reconstruction in urban centers. The remaining $55 million will be used to strengthen the financial and private sectors, of which $40 million will finance the building of a modern telecommunications network across the country.
The proposed Emergency Baghdad Water and Sanitation Project ($65 million) will help restore basic water supply and sanitation services in Baghdad through reconstruction and upgrading existing networks and treatment facilities.
In Baghdad today, water supplies reach one-third of consumers, compared with 1990 levels. In addition, about 30 percent of Baghdad’s population is not connected to a sewage collection and treatment system, posing serious environmental and health concerns.
The Emergency Health Rehabilitation Project ($25 million) responds to the urgent health needs of the Iraqi people by improving emergency services in select hospitals. This project will equip hospitals with basic medical and laboratory equipment and provide a 3 to 6 month supply of up to 40 essential emergency drugs. It will also provide support for better planning and management in public health agencies at the central and governorate level.
The Emergency Private Sector Development Project ($55 million) will help address unemployment - estimated at 50 percent or more - by focusing on four building blocks for private sector growth. The project will create or strengthen institutions that would support the private sector, and improve Iraqi firms’ access to finance and foreign markets. It will also boost the telecommunications infrastructure and build a national network to improve delivery of communications services to the government and to the people of Iraq.
A fourth grant agreement for the Emergency Water Supply and Sanitation and Urban Development Project ($90 million) is expected to be signed this week. The project will help restore basic water supply and sanitation services in nine governorates outside of Baghdad. In addition, the project will undertake reconstruction of roads, sidewalks, and community centers in poor cities outside of Baghdad.
To date, international donors have pledged approximately $400 million in the Iraq Trust Fund― the World Bank arm of the Joint UN-World Bank International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq―to finance a program of emergency projects and technical assistance based on an interim strategy.