King Due at Iraq Reconstruction Conference

HM King Abdullah is due to attend an international conference in Kuwait this month focused on reconstructing parts of Iraq devastated by the war against Islamic State. Donor countries and organizations are expected to announce financial contributions at the two-day meeting.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in December declared victory in the war against the militants, who controlled as much as a third of Iraq’s territory three years ago. Iraq is estimated to need at least $100 billion in assistance to rebuild homes, businesses and infrastructure, including oil and telecommunications facilities.

Jordan has reportedly signed an agreement with several international firms to construct a logistics center in Mafraq that is designed to act as a springboard for reconstruction work in Iraq and Syria. The Kingdom reopened its main border crossing with Iraq last summer after a two-year closure brought about by militant violence in the area.

Iraq has also been working on securing the highway that connects Iraq’s Basra port in the south to Jordan, where the Red Sea port of Aqaba has long served as a gateway for Iraqi imports coming from Europe.

Jordan hopes the reopening of the route will revive exports to Iraq, once the Kingdom’s main export market that accounted for almost a fifth of domestic exports or about $1.2 billion a year, according to the International Monetary Fund.