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World: Donor Countries Study Iraq Costs

Melbourne Age
February 28th, 2004

In Abu Dhabi, representatives of some 40 donor countries, including the United States, the European Union and Japan, as well as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations, prepared to kick off a two-day conference on rebuilding post-war Iraq.


Organisers said they were hoping to accelerate the disbursement of $US33 billion ($A42.91 billion) pledged last year for the war-torn country and would be studying proposed donor plans and financing mechanisms.


Iraq hopes $US3.5 billion ($A4.55 billion) will be allocated this year for reconstruction, the country's interim minister of planning and development cooperation, Mehdi al-Hafidh, said.


To that end, Iraqi officials and the US-led coalition have compiled a list of some 700 to 1,000 projects which will be presented in Abu Dhabi.


A source close familiar with the requests said they cover a broad range of subjects both urban and rural, from rebuilding schools and supplying power to homes, to tackling pesticide on farmland.


A senior World Bank official has said Iraq would only receive some $US500 million ($A650.11 million) out of the $US33 billion ($A42.91 billion) promised by donors up to the June 30 deadline for the transfer of power to Iraqis.


The money will come from a trust fund jointly administered by the bank and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), and is expected to be approved by the so-called Facility Donor Committee when it meets in Abu Dhabi following the presentations by Hafidh and international agencies.

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