Sereen Juma (202) 473-7199
AMMAN, December 6, 2004 The World Bank today 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 Banks 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.
"Todays agreements reflect the international
communitys valuable support to the reconstruction
process of my country in vital areas that entail significant
economic impact says Dr. Mehdi Hafedh,
Iraqs Minister of Planning and Development
Cooperation. We appreciate the cooperation
and continuous efforts of the World Bank in this regard."
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
Prior to the 1991 Gulf war, the population of Iraq enjoyed a
relatively high level of water supply and sanitation services.
A decade of sanctions followed by direct damage from the 2003
war, looting, lack of maintenance and power outages led to a
deterioration in the water treatment and supply
systems. In Baghdad today, water supplies reach
one-third of consumers, compared with 1990 levels. In
addition, about 30 percent of Baghdads 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.
Once considered among the best in the region, the Iraqi health
system suffered the consequences of three major wars, weak
policies, poor management and limited funding. 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 unemploymentestimated at 50 percent
or moreby 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
With the launch of the three emergency projects
today, the majority of donors fund administered by
the World Bank will be spentall of them in
high-impact sectors catering to the Iraqi peoples day
to day needs, says Joseph Saba, World Bank Country
Director for 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 Iraqto finance a program of emergency
projects and technical assistance based on an interim strategy.
The Iraq Trust Fund is already financing two emergency projects
in education as well as training and technical
assistance. Reconstruction in connection with the
signed projects is expected to begin within the next few
All World Bank-financed reconstruction projects are
implemented by the Iraqi ministries and institutions.
This includes overall project management, procurement of goods
and services, and financial reporting. The Bank has
already provided several training sessions in these areas
through workshops and on-the-job training.