Conference on Iraq's reconstruction begins in Kuwait

US not planning to contribute money at Iraq reconstruction conference officials

The United States does not plan to announce a financial contribution to Iraq's rebuilding efforts in the upcoming conference in Kuwait after the nation's infrastructure was damaged during its war against Islamic State forces.

Global organisations are to speak on the first day, while attending donor countries are expected to make announcements on the third.

"Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world", Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said.

United States officials have already said there will be no new pledges of assistance for Iraq's reconstruction drive, after Washington pumped some $60 billion into rebuilding the country following the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Kuwait is setting aside its past differences with Iraq to host the summit. Meanwhile the World Bank pledged $400 million. We were there to participate in the coalition (against IS). Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will attend the conference, and he has said that there are "Arab donors willing to help and support". Half of Iraq's schools are in need of fix, and more than three million children have suffered disruption to their time in the classroom. Government auditors in 2013 found that at least 10 per cent of the money could not be accounted for, with billions of dollars wasted on dubious contracts.

Participants walk past brochures of previous funds collected by the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), during the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq on February 12, 2018, in Kuwait City.

Over the following three days government ministers are set to outline their funding needs for two key areas, according to Lise Grande, the UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq.

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One reform focuses on improving the business environment by allowing foreign companies to register rapidly and begin work on construction projects.

"If we do not start to invest in children's education today, this generation will be lost and will not be able to contribute to the economy and the security of Iraq when they grow up".

While the US will not make any new direct aid pledges at the conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to announce an over $3 billion financial package, an American official said.

About 2.5 million Iraqis remain displaced by the fighting, he added.

The second day is allocated for expounding investment opportunities in Iraq and chances of the private sector there.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also vowed his country's support during a visit to Iraq on Monday, without giving a specific figure. We will always be there.

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