Gli iracheni sollecitano i donatori a stanziare altri miliardi di aiuti alla ricostruzione

<109808091">Irak, Guerra, Ricostruzione         NYT       05-07-19

<109808092">Gli iracheni sollecitano i donatori a stanziare altri miliardi di aiuti alla ricostruzione

James Glanz

<109808093">L’Irak è ancora in una situazione di collasso fisico ed economico: il governo iracheno ha chiesto nuovi finanziamenti per la ricostruzione; esso ne chiede la gestione, attualmente in mano ai paesi stranieri, e l’assegnazione delle commesse ad appaltatori iracheni, e l’esecuzione a forza lavoro locale.

In occasione di una riunione in Giordania con i paesi donatori (registrati ufficialmente erano 59, presenti molto meno) il ministro iracheno della programmazione, Barham Salih, ha chiesto maggiori fondi per la ricostruzione dell’Irak, assicurando la capacità gestirli da parte degli istituti finanziari iracheni, e i nuovi sforzi del governo per combattere la corruzione.

Le sue richieste hanno ricevuto una prima risposta dal Giappone, che ha concesso $3,5md. di prestiti a basso interesse per progetti idrici, fognature, strade, etc., e dalla la Bm con prestiti simili di $500mn. per i prossimi due anni.

Il ministro iracheno si è detto insoddisfatto per la gran parte del programma americano di ricostruzione che non ha prodotto risultati veloci nonostante siano stati spesi circa $9md., secondo il Pentagono. «I megaprogetti (americani), benché essenziali, non sono riusciti a rispondere abbastanza velocemente ai bisogni di base, come elettricità, acqua e fognature».

Sono stati versati su un fondo fiduciario per la ricostruzione irachena $1,1 md., da diversi paesi, con in testa Giappone, Ue e Canada. Con $350mn. il contributo giapponese al fondo è il maggiore.

NYT        05-07-19

Iraqis Press Donors for Billions More in Reconstruction Aid

AMMAN, Jordan, July 18 – As fresh violence engulfs Iraq, the officials in charge of its government pressed a major meeting of donor nations here on Monday for billions of dollars in new financing to repair a country that remains in a state of physical and economic collapse.

But in a finely balanced argument, the Iraqi officials also said their country and its fledgling financial institutions were stable and secure enough to manage the influx of that much money.
In fact, those officials said, now is the time for local Iraqi governments to take the lead in setting priorities for rebuilding out of the hands of foreign nations, and for Iraqi contractors to carry out virtually all of the work with local labor.

Some of those pleas were answered when Japan reached what the Iraqi planning minister, Barham Salih, said were the outlines of an agreement to provide $3.5 billion in low-interest loans for water, sewage, road and other projects. The World Bank also announced that it had offered Iraq up to $500 million in similar loans over the next two years.

Mr. Salih , whose ministry functions as a kind of switchyard for rebuilding funds, made it clear that he was disappointed in major portions of the American rebuilding program, which he said had failed to produce quick results despite the expenditure of about $9 billion, according to Pentagon figures.

After formulaic declarations by officials at the United Nations and the World Bank that the first day of the conference had been a success, Mr. Salih gave a blunter assessment.

"I want to hold judgment and claim success once we see these pledges turned into realities on the ground," Mr. Salih said, adding that the rebuilding effort had roughly six months to show results before Iraqis began giving up hope that it would ever improve their lives.

"This is the time to make the difference," he said. "It is now or it will be too late. Iraq’s people have grown numb to many statements of support."

Staffan de Mistura, a United Nations representative at the gathering, held at a conference center next to the Dead Sea , agreed that "we are facing six crucial months" but argued that some programs had quietly been successful. For example, he said, water chlorination programs carried out by Iraqis have prevented major outbreaks of cholera amid the chaos of the insurgency.

"We cannot be, outside of this room, too loud about it, for reasons that you know," Mr. Mistura said, referring to the danger that any project faces in Iraq if it is understood to be directed or financed by foreigners.

That concession captured what often seemed to be a paradox of the meeting: although the Iraqis were trying to persuade other countries that Iraq was safe and secure enough to carry out rebuilding projects, the meeting took place in the safety of Jordan rather than in Baghdad.

Much of the conference focused on $1.1 billion already placed in trust funds for Iraqi reconstruction by a number of countries around the world, led by Japan, the European Union and Canada. Japan’s contribution to those funds is the largest, about $350 million, said Michael Bell, chairman of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, which oversees the money.

Most of the fund’s money has already been committed to specific projects, and Iraqi officials have been saying for weeks that they hoped to reel in more pledges here. But while 59 countries registered for the meeting by an official count, actual attendance seemed sparse, and a number of those countries did not send representatives.

Before his formal speech, Mr. Salih addressed the issue on the minds of many in attendance and asked for a moment of silence for victims of a suicide bomber who killed 71 people on Saturday in the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad. He asked that the moment also commemorate the victims of the London bombings last week.

Referring to the American rebuilding program , Mr. Salih said in prepared remarks that its "large-scale, capital-intensive" focus had been inevitable because of the crumbling infrastructure inherited from Saddam Hussein’s government.

But he added, "It is now clear that that these megaprojects, though essential, have not succeeded in providing quickly enough for Iraqis’ basic needs like electricity, water and sanitation."

American officials had little to say about the repeated criticism of their rebuilding programs. "We think this was a successful day," said one American official who asked not to be identified because he wanted attention to remain on the Iraqis.

Mr. Salih tried to ease a major concern of some potential donor countries by saying Iraq was making new efforts to root out corrupt officials in the government ranks.

Christiaan Poortman, a World Bank official, acknowledged those concerns. "At this point in time, the push is to get the money out," Mr. Poortman said. "Six months from now the talk will be about ‘where did the money go?’ "

He added, "And we are not going to get burned on this one."

Leave a Reply