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MENAFN - 19/12/2012

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(MENAFN) The World Bank has announced it will award Iraq USD900 million over the next four years to help it create jobs, build stronger institutions and improve social inclusion, Reuters reported.

The strategy involved Iraq's government, the World Bank, the private sector and other stakeholders, and is concentrated on better management of Iraq's vast oil wealth and to improve its investment climate. The programs will also focus on inclusion of women.

Ferid Belhaj, the World Bank's director for Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Jordan said about the strategy "Iraq is opening a new chapter in its long and deep history".

He also said "This is a chapter (for Iraq) where the people come first and where the immense human potential of the country, its vast natural resources and its strategic location will be central to its socio-economic recovery."

Iraq has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, and depends on oil wealth to fund 95 percent of its budget.

However, after nine years since the US-led invasion, Iraq remains suffering with ruinous infrastructure and investment is needed to reform banking, build houses and roads and fix a chronic electricity shortage.

Even the oil sector is underperforming as the country's logistical bottlenecks and weak infrastructure are eroding investor interest.

 






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