Iraq seeks Dollars 88.2 bln for reconstruction: minister

16 2017 shows Iraqi volunteers salvaging and cleaning up the debris and destruction in the Bab al Saray area in the old city of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul

Iraqi officials said at the conference on Monday that it will cost more than $88 billion to rebuild Iraq, with housing a particularly urgent priority.

The conference was held in Kuwait and included donors and investors, as well as other countries.

"We finished one battle but we are engaged now with a war for reconstruction", said Mustafa al-Hiti, the head of Iraq's reconstruction fund for areas affected by terrorist operations.

France has been a key member of the US -led military coalition against ISIL. Their victory came at a steep cost for Mosul, as coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide vehicle bombs destroyed homes and government buildings.

However, the figure would be far shy of Iraq's estimates for funds needed to press ahead with post-Daesh reconstruction efforts.

However, the secretary-general of Iraq's Council of Ministers Mahdi al-Alaq said nations could it help by acting as guarantors with worldwide lenders. It "led to the total destruction of its infrastructure". Almost $30 billion is needed to restore energy and industrial infrastructure, he said. Iraq needs some $20 billion now to begin its reconstruction, al-Hiti said.

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About 2.5 million Iraqis remain displaced by the unrelenting conflict, which saw Islamic militants accused of beheadings, crucifixions, slavery and rape.

Araji said investors in Iraq will find "high risks, but high returns".

Araji said that Iraq, which has been either at war or under global sanctions since 1980, is offering projects in nearly every field of the economy - from oil to agriculture.

A US -led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and was followed by years of insurgency, sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi'ites, as well as ethnic tensions between the Arabs and Kurds, all before ISIL emerged in 2014.

The country sits on some of the world s largest crude reserves, which Baghdad puts at 153 billion barrels, but the war and a slump in world prices have diminished its oil revenues. It has struggled to pay global firms running them.

The United States leads the coalition and hopes that after a three-year fight to defeat the militants it can count in large part on Gulf allies to shoulder the burden of rebuilding Iraq. ISIS is another acronym for Islamic State. US government auditors also found massive waste and corruption, fueling suspicions of Western politicians like Trump who want to scale back foreign aid. However, the U.S. provided Iraq with over $600 million in humanitarian funding for the fiscal year of 2017, according to U.S. Aid. Tens of billions more were lost indirectly through damage to the wider economy and years of lost growth, the planning ministry said.

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Even in Kuwait, some social media users questioned the focus on Iraq, asking why more wasn't being done in their own country.

Kuwait, hosting the conferences this week, has a deep interest in seeing a stable Iraq, especially after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of their small, oil-rich emirate.

In a Monday statement, Qassemi underlined the significance of Iraq as a friend and neighbor of Iran, and said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will take part in Kuwait conference.

Non-governmental organisations yesterday pledged US$330 million but the main commitments are expected to be made by about 70 countries on the final day of the conference tomorrow. If you believe in collaboration to produce quality neutral journalism for everyone, it is important that you sign up to support our work financially.

"We know that many people think about, 'OK, it's the second time we have to rebuild Iraq, '".

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