Kuwait Mobilizes the Private Sector to Help Iraq Rebuild

3 minutes read time
Two men, fully covered to protect from the sun, carry a pipe while two other men stand by to assist. The background is a concrete house in ruins, with lots of debris.
Workers begin to repair a water well facility in Iraq after explosive hazards have been removed.

Kuwait Mobilizes the Private Sector to Help Iraq Rebuild

The United States considers the global eradication of ISIS a top American foreign policy priority. With our help and that of our partners in the 74-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Iraq has liberated all of its territory and is now focused on the important work of stabilizing and rebuilding liberated areas. Kuwait has taken a leading role in advancing that goal.

In coordination with the Government of Iraq, the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Bank, Kuwait will host a conference focused on Iraq’s reconstruction in Kuwait City on February 12-14. This three-day forum will showcase private sector investment opportunities and donor commitments from other governments. The agenda for February 13 will highlight private sector opportunities to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure and modernize key sectors of the economy to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.  

I am pleased to join Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other high-level U.S. government representatives at this event, along with over 1,000 private sector representatives, high-ranking officials from regional governments, and representatives from international financial institutions.  This will be an opportunity to support the Iraqi people and help impart confidence that Iraq is now open for business.

Since 2014, the United States has contributed $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid to conflict-affected and displaced Iraqis in the region, in addition to committing over $265 million in stabilization funding to support post-ISIS recovery in Iraq. As we turn our focus to help Iraq rebuild its economy, the Department of State is focused on the private sector. It has teamed up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to organize a delegation of over 150 American companies to travel to Kuwait and participate in the conference, which will lead to new business deals that contribute to job growth in Iraq and the United States.

The National Security Strategy unveiled in December 2017 underscored that the United States will support economic reforms in the Middle East to mitigate conditions that terror groups exploit. The conference in Kuwait will present not only an opportunity to promote Iraqi reconstruction efforts, but also encourage economic reforms to attract investments to rebuild the Iraqi economy, lay the foundations for prosperity, and limit the ability of ISIS and other terror groups to reorganize and take root.

On the eve of this important event, the world is faced with a unique opportunity to set a new course for Iraq’s long-term development. We call on both our government allies and private sector partners around the world to support the Iraqi government in this effort.  As the successes of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS have shown, by working together we can ensure a strong and unified Iraq that provides for itself, maintains meaningful partnerships with the United States and other Coalition partners, and integrates peacefully into the global community.

About the Author: Andrew Peek is a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. 

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State publication on Medium.