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Iraq gets $350 million World Bank loan to rebuild war-torn regions

July 13, 2015 at 10:08 am

Iraq and the World Bank signed a $350 million loan agreement on Sunday to fund reconstruction projects for regions retaken from ISIS in the north and west of the country.

According to Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu news agency, Iraqi Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari signed the agreement with the World Bank’s Middle East Director, Farid Belhaj, at his ministry in Baghdad.

“This is the first direct tangible assistance for the reconstruction and stabilisation efforts by the government to normalise life in the areas liberated from ISIS,” Zebari said at the signing ceremony. He added that the deal granted Iraq a 15-year loan at around 1 per cent interest, with a 5-year grace period.

World Bank officials say that the programme, which is awaiting approval from the bank’s board, aims to improve energy efficiency, reform state-owned enterprises and improve the effectiveness of budget spending. The loan is part of a $1.7 billion World Bank package intended to help Baghdad deal with its budget deficit.

“We would like to be as fast with this budget support as we have been with the investment operation,” Belhaj said. “We are looking forward to finalising the process by… September or October.”