“Opportunities in Iraq” – Portuguese government encourages business sector to invest war-shattered country

The Portuguese government is to start informing national businesses of the “investment opportunities in Iraq”.

The war-shattered country requires almost €90 billion for its reconstruction, secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation Teresa Ribeiro has told Lusa.

“The challenges are immense”, she agreed, speaking from the ministerial conference in Kuwait designed to map Iraq’s revival.

Various ‘financial packages’ with ‘lines of credit’ are to be put in place, with various countries and blocs contributing money.

Teresa Ribeiro stressed that Portugal has helped Iraq on a humanitarian level. It has helped in the training and setting up of the recovering country’s military and it in the “absolutely necessary” task of “demining its image”.

Now is the time “to respect the Constitution and promote national conciliation”, she said.

The conference discussed the ongoing cleansing of Daesh fighters from Syria, and the need for ongoing vigilance to ensure the terrorist group’s loss of territory “is not accompanied by a social media recruitment campaign”.

The conference saw various countries pledge aid to Iraq: Portugal’s contribution will go into the European ‘pot’ of €360 million. Turkey has pledged €4 billion (the largest contribution of all), Kuwait €1.6 billion, Saudi Arabia €800 million for investment projects and €400 to help Iranian exports, while Qatar is putting forwards €1 billion in what Lusa termed “loans and investments”.

UN secretary-general António Guterres has appealed to the international community to “support the efforts” being made to rebuild Iraq.

But Lusa stopped short of describing the investment opportunities.

Teresa Ribeiro stressed there is “everything to do in terms of construction, from buildings to energy, water and sanitary infrastructures”.

Photo: Mário Cruz – Lusa