Japan


$400m for Reconstruction of Mosul and Newly Liberated Areas

The World Bank has approved a US$400 million financial assistance package today to support the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of priority infrastructure to restore delivery of public services in areas of Iraq newly liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The package represents an additional financing to the Iraq Emergency Operation for Development Project (US$350 million), approved back in July 2015 and already underway in seven cities in Diyala and Salah Ad-Din governorates.

The additional financing will allow the geographic scale-up of existing project activities to additional cities liberated from ISIS in the Salah Ad-Din and Diyala governorates, as well as in the governorates of Anbar (including Ramadi), Kirkuk, Ninawah (including Mosul) and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG’s) governorate of Dohuk.

Similarly, implementation responsibilities will also expand to subnational governments in addition to the central government institutions.

Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director, said:

“The international community has expressed its commitment to support the urgent need for the Government-led reconstruction of Mosul and other recently liberated cities. The World Bank is committed to working with Iraqi authorities to ensure that this much-needed reconstruction takes place in a sustainable, inclusive and equitable manner to foster long term development and create opportunities for everyone.”

The current project activities span over five primary sectors: water and sanitation, electricity, health, transport and municipal services. The additional financing will continue to support these sectors, as well as address pressing education, agriculture/irrigation and urban service delivery needs of communities in liberated areas.

It will also support the restoration and preservation of key cultural heritage assets especially in the Old City of Mosul. But beyond the physical repair, emphasis will be given to improving the quality of education for boys and girls, and increasing the employment of women, youth as well as the poor in both urban and rural areas.

The additional financing will also support the Government of Iraq in attracting private sector participation in reconstruction efforts. To this effect, studies will be carried out to assess the feasibility of public private partnerships in the reconstruction, operation and maintenance of Mosul airport, which was severely damaged during the liberation of Mosul.

Japan Lends $502m to Iraq for Development

JICA to Support Reconstruction in Power Supply and Iraqi Government’s Fiscal Reforms: Signing of Two Japanese ODA Loan Agreements for Iraq

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government have signed two loan agreements at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

These two ODA (Official Development Assistance) loans, amounting to JPY 57,220 million (approximately USD 502 million) in total, will be used for Phase 3 of the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project and the Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan (II).

The loan agreements were signed by Dr. Maher Hammad Johan, Acting Deputy Minister of Finance and Yuho Hayakawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.  These concessional ODA loans aim to support the Government of Iraq and Iraqi people in efforts to reconstruct the country with significant challenges.

The first loan, amounting to JPY 27,220 million (approx. USD 239 million), is used for the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project (Phase 3).  The Ministry of Electricity implements the project which reconstructs and develops fixed and mobile substations in conflict-affected Anbar as well as Baghdad and surrounding areas.  The project is expected to contribute to restoration and stabilization of electricity supply to millions of people in conflict-affected areas.  Prior to this Phase 3 project, JICA is already funding preceding Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects in various governorates.

The second loan, Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan (II) amounting to JPY 30,000 million (approx. USD 263 million), supports the budget of the Government of Iraq with urgent needs for enormous financial resources.  It aims to promote on-going administrative and financial reforms of the Government through (i) expenditure rationalization, (ii) energy efficiency and (iii) transparency and governance of state-owned enterprises.  This is a part of phased co-financing supports with the World Bank and other partners since 2016.  The previous phase of this loan, of which amount is JPY 25,000 million (approx. USD 219 million), was already fully disbursed in June 2016.  JICA is also implementing technical cooperation for strengthening debt management capacity of the Iraqi government officials, which is required under the reform program.

Both loans are very concessional with the interest rate of JPY LIBOR+0.05% and the repayment period of 15 years including 5-year grace period.

JICA is a development assistance agency under Japanese Government and provides financial and technical cooperation for developing countries.  Since 2003, it has provided assistances for Iraq through ODA loans which amount to JPY 683 billion (equivalent to USD 6.0 billion) and technical cooperation including training programs in which more than 8,000 Iraqi officials have participated. JICA supports Iraq’s efforts for urgent reconstruction, stabilization of people’s daily lives and sustained socio-economic development of the country.

(Source: JICA)

Japan Lends $502m to Iraq for Development

JICA to Support Reconstruction in Power Supply and Iraqi Government’s Fiscal Reforms: Signing of Two Japanese ODA Loan Agreements for Iraq

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Iraqi Government have signed two loan agreements at Ministry of Finance in Baghdad.

These two ODA (Official Development Assistance) loans, amounting to JPY 57,220 million (approximately USD 502 million) in total, will be used for Phase 3 of the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project and the Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan (II).

The loan agreements were signed by Dr. Maher Hammad Johan, Acting Deputy Minister of Finance and Yuho Hayakawa, Chief Representative of JICA Iraq Office, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.  These concessional ODA loans aim to support the Government of Iraq and Iraqi people in efforts to reconstruct the country with significant challenges.

The first loan, amounting to JPY 27,220 million (approx. USD 239 million), is used for the Electricity Sector Reconstruction Project (Phase 3).  The Ministry of Electricity implements the project which reconstructs and develops fixed and mobile substations in conflict-affected Anbar as well as Baghdad and surrounding areas.  The project is expected to contribute to restoration and stabilization of electricity supply to millions of people in conflict-affected areas.  Prior to this Phase 3 project, JICA is already funding preceding Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects in various governorates.

The second loan, Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan (II) amounting to JPY 30,000 million (approx. USD 263 million), supports the budget of the Government of Iraq with urgent needs for enormous financial resources.  It aims to promote on-going administrative and financial reforms of the Government through (i) expenditure rationalization, (ii) energy efficiency and (iii) transparency and governance of state-owned enterprises.  This is a part of phased co-financing supports with the World Bank and other partners since 2016.  The previous phase of this loan, of which amount is JPY 25,000 million (approx. USD 219 million), was already fully disbursed in June 2016.  JICA is also implementing technical cooperation for strengthening debt management capacity of the Iraqi government officials, which is required under the reform program.

Both loans are very concessional with the interest rate of JPY LIBOR+0.05% and the repayment period of 15 years including 5-year grace period.

JICA is a development assistance agency under Japanese Government and provides financial and technical cooperation for developing countries.  Since 2003, it has provided assistances for Iraq through ODA loans which amount to JPY 683 billion (equivalent to USD 6.0 billion) and technical cooperation including training programs in which more than 8,000 Iraqi officials have participated. JICA supports Iraq’s efforts for urgent reconstruction, stabilization of people’s daily lives and sustained socio-economic development of the country.

(Source: JICA)

National Contingency Plan to Tackle Oil Spills

Iraqi Government to Launch a National Contingency Plan to Tackle Oil Spill Incidents

On 22 and 23 October 2017, Ministry of Oil, Ministry of Health and Environment and Ministry of Transport had discussions with the team of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Basra to finalize Iraqi National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) in order to tackle large oil spill accidents both in inland and marine areas.

This comprehensive contingency plan has been formulated, with technical cooperation of JICA, for protecting or minimizing the environmental and social impacts resulted by the oil spill incidents and for satisfying requirements of related international conventions, the regional agreements in the Gulf region, as well as domestic laws and regulations.

The plan systematically integrates individual plans for oil spill response, which were prepared by production sites and regions, in line with a newly-formed national-level policy and strategy. The risk assessments, responsibilities of relevant organizations, commanding and coordinating mechanisms, necessary resources and standard procedures of rapid and effective responses are also incorporated.

Spill of oil and spread of hazardous wastes can harm people’s health and safety, and pollute environment of sea, rivers, land and wetlands. They could also cause not only direct damage to oil businesses like crude oil production and export or oil refinery operations but serious impact on agriculture and port operations.  Iraq, one of the largest oil producing countries in the globe, has many oil fields, related facilities and extensive pipeline networks in inland as well as in coastal areas.

Its gradual increase of oil production and related activities has raised environmental and economic risks of oil spill accidents of the country, which has environmentally-sensitive inland water system, wetlands and marine eco-systems. While coping with potential risks of oil spills caused by facilities’ defects, operational failure and accidents, Iraqi Government has developed this first integrated plan of national countermeasures against possible oil spill incidents.

The cooperation to the formulation of the NOSCP is a part of the two-year project of JICA’s technical cooperation. The project also provided trainings and drills in Japan, Iran and Jordan for officials of Iraqi relevant ministries in order to strengthen their capacities in planning and actual responses on site. The Marine Environment Mutual Aid Centre (MEMAC), a Bahrain-based international organization with eight member countries in the region, contributed to the training programs as well.

(Source: JICA)

Social and Economic Integration of Iraqi Youth

Social and Economic Integration of Youth Key for a Better Future for Iraq

A new project will promote the social and economic inclusion of about 3,000 conflict-affected Iraqi youth by facilitating their engagement in youth-led community development activities, peacebuilding initiatives and micro-entrepreneurship projects. The Project is financed by a US$2.75 million Grant provided by the Japan social Development Fund (JSDF).

The project agreement was signed today by H.E. Mr. Abdul-Hussein Abtaan, Iraqi Minister of Youth and Sports and Ms. Yara Salem, World Bank Iraq Country Manager, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Ja Fumio Iwai, Japanese Ambassador to Iraq.

With one third of the Iraqi population between the ages of 15 and 24, Iraqi youth represent both an opportunity and a challenge for economic development. Youth can bring dynamism and innovation to the any economy, yet if not properly trained and integrated, they may also represent a drain on limited national resources.

“Investing in the youth is key to build a stable and more prosperous future for Iraq. This project will help promote the social and economic inclusion of youth in conflict-affected areas. It will provide them with the skills needed to find better job opportunities and contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq” said Abdul-Hussein Abtaan, Iraqi Minister of Youth and Sports during the signing ceremony.

The project is expected to be a powerful engine to promote a culture of tolerance and strengthen social cohesion. Educating youth on the values of peace has become a pressing need, namely considering the waves of violence and displacement witnessed by several areas of the country due to the conflict.

“The World Bank is very pleased to partner with Iraq in supporting youth and their active participation in the economy. This is at the heart of sustainable and inclusive development and in line with the World Bank support plan to Iraq for the coming period” said Ms. Salem, World Bank Iraq Country Manager.

The Project, which builds on the success of a similar initiative implemented in Southern Iraq (Basra, Missan, and Thiqar), aims to support at least 3,000 vulnerable youth in Baghdad, including 50 percent young women and 30 percent IDPs.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with the help of local non-governmental organizations and service providers to conduct activities under the soft skills training, youth-led community development subprojects and business development trainings.

(Source: United Nations)

Iraq to Invest in Joint Oil Projects with Iran

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] (pictured) has said an agreement will soon be signed with Iran to jointly invest in two oil fields shared between the two countries.

Last month, Iraq’s Ambassador to Tehran, Rajih al-Mussawi, said his country was considering a plan to cooperate with Iran to develop the Azadegan oil field which the two sides share.

According ot PressTV, Iran discovered the Azadegan field in 1999 in what was the country’s biggest oil find in decades.  It is believed to be connected with Iraq’s supergiant Majnoon oil field.

Japan’s Inpex was contracted to develop the Azadegan project, but later quit in an apparent reaction to US sanctions against Iran.

Shell is reportedly trying to quit the Majnoon project, but has also submitted its technical study plan to Iranian authorities to develop the Azadegan and Yadavaran oil fields.

(Source: PressTV)

Shell to Exit Iraqi Oil Business

By John Lee.

Oil giant Shell is trying to sell its stake in the Majnoon oilfield (pictured) in southern Iraq, following a failure to reach agreement with Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.

A Shell spokesman told UAE-based newspaper The National:

“Following extensive discussions with the Ministry of Oil, the oil minister of Iraq formally endorsed a recent Shell proposal to pursue an amicable and mutually acceptable release of the Shell interest in Majnoon, with the timeline to be agreed in due course.”

Reuters quotes an oil official as confirming that the Ministry failed to reach an agreement with Shell over its Majnoon operations, including production plans and investments budgets. “We think it’s for the interest of all parties that Shell should withdraw,” he added.

A Shell spokesman told Reuters:

“In May 2017, the ministry of oil in Iraq applied the performance penalty and remuneration factor on the Shell operated venture, the Majnoon oil field, which had a significant impact on its commerciality.”

The company holds a 45-percent share in the project, with Malaysia’s Petronas holding 30 percent, and the Iraqi state-owned Maysan Oil Company having 25 percent.

Output from the field, which commenced production in 2014, is currently estimated at around 235,000 barrels per day (bpd), with a 400,000 bpd target by 2020.

Shell is also seeking to selling its stake in the ExxonMobil-operated West Qurna 1 oil field.

In addition to its oil interests in Iraq, Shell is a key player in the Basra Gas Company (BGC), a joint venture between the Iraq’s South Gas Company (SGC) (51%), Shell (44%) and Japan’s Mitsubishi (5%), which processes gas from the Rumaila, West Qurna and Zubair fields, which would otherwise be flared.

The National also quotes a Shell spokesman as saying that the company remains committed to this, and to its petrochemical project in Iraq:

“By leaving Majnoon, Shell will be in a stronger position to focus its efforts on the development and growth of the Basrah Gas Company and the Nebras Petrochemicals Project.

(Sources: Reuters, The National)

Study: Niche Markets and Growth Sectors in Northern Iraq

Iraq, and in particular northern Iraq, is rich in agricultural resources. Recent years, however, have seen an over-reliance on the oil sector to drive growth. In 2014, deteriorating security and conflict in Iraq, coupled with a dramatic fall in global oil prices, caused a severe economic recession in the country.

The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government faced severe fiscal crises whilst millions of displaced Iraqis and Syrians depended on humanitarian support.

Through the Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is assisting in both crisis response and economic recovery, and is seeking to promote development by building a resilience framework.

With the security and economic crises affecting millions, livelihoods programmes can help to provide diverse and sustainable employment opportunities to promote economic growth. Agriculture programmes in particular have value-added opportunities to lead this growth. However, structural challenges remain an obstacle.

UNDP’s ICRRP evaluated the performance and potential of promising niche markets to map the value chains, identify activities that can be established or expanded locally and, finally, inform further tailored livelihood interventions to be undertaken within the selected sectors by partners, the private sector, and government bodies.

The analysis of niche markets provides valuable information in terms of the existing gaps, constraints and potential opportunities, including linking with existing initiatives and commercial interests. This will help to boost market performance either by establishing a new activity within the value chain that currently relies on imports, or by supporting and modernizing existing activities. This study has been made possible by the generous support of the Government of Japan.

Highlights

  • Demand for fresh flowers, decorative plants and greening of urban areas has grown, especially in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
  • Products originating from fruit, such as juice, dried/dehydrated fruits, canned fruits and jams are popular
  • The domestic fresh herb sector is small and fragmented, with the products mainly imported
  • Regarding all three niche markets, production tends to be small-scale, relies on conventional methods, and can be modernized to vastly improve productivity
  • All sectors offer employment potential for targeted populations: internally displaced people, refugees, host community members, youth and women

The full report can be downloaded here.

(Source: UNDP in Iraq)

Japanese Loan Boosts Output at Hartha Power Station

Unit No.4 of the Hartha Thermal Power Station has re-started operations and is supplying 200MW of electricity to the grid, following rehabilitation works funded with the Japanese ODA loan.

A completion ceremony was held on 7th September, attended by Mr. Adel Kadhim Jaryan, Deputy Minister of Electricity, Representatives of Basra Governorate, officials of Ministry of Electricity, H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai (pictured), Japanese Ambassador to Iraq, and Mr. Yuho Hayakawa, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Iraq Office.

JICA described the re-start as “well ahead of the original construction schedule, thanks to outstanding endeavours jointly made by Ministry of Electricity and the Contractor (Joint Venture of Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems [MHPS] and [Turkish firm] GAMA).

The Hartha Thermal Power Station (HTPS), with four units of 200 megawatts (MW) each, was originally built to generate 800 MW in total. The power station, one of the largest in Basrah Governorate, was built in 1982 by the Japanese companies with Japan’s financial assistance. However, due to aging as well as serious damage during past conflicts, two of the four units have been inactive for several years.

The remaining two units — No. 1 and No. 4 — have continued in operation due to the maintenance efforts of the staff of Ministry of Electricity, in spite of huge deterioration in their generation capacities and frequent disruptions.

JICA signed an ODA loan agreement in the amount of 20,224 million yen ($194 million) with the Iraqi Government on 23rd February, 2015, to facilitate the rehabilitation of Unit No. 4, and has financially supported the project since then. The loan has an interest rate 0.8 percent per annum for the rehabilitation works, and 0.01% per annum for the consulting services, and its repayment period is 15 years including a grace period of 5 years.

The project increases the annual power generation of the Unit from 860 GWh to 1,489 GWh, which is equivalent to the total electricity consumption of 800,000 Iraqi people for one year; it also helps to stabilize electricity supply.

Assistance to the electricity sector is one of the pillars of JICA’s cooperation to Iraq. In addition to support for Unit No. 4, JICA also signed an ODA loan on August 5, 2017 for rehabilitation of Unit No. 1 of Hartha Thermal Power Station.

Since 2008, JICA has signed seven loan agreements for electricity projects in Iraq including the one signed on August 5, 2017, amounting to 196.648 billion Japanese yen (equivalent to approximately $1.8 billion) in total. These loans are used for the rehabilitation and development of four power plants, and transmission and distribution facilities, all over the country.

In addition to the financial cooperation, more than two thousand Iraqi officials have participated in the JICA’s training programs for capacity building of the electricity sector since 2003.

(Source: JICA)

Iraq signs $270m Loan from Japan

Iraq has signed for receiving a Japanese loan worth USD270 million according to a statement from the Japanese Embassy in Iraq.

The loan is designed to improve Iraq’s financial situation and to help the country proceed with reforms, the statement by the embassy said, noting that it comes as a second tranche of a USD500 million Japanese financial assistance commitment.

The statement said falling world oil prices and spending on defence and refugee relief portfolios had largely reduced the country’s budget resources. It also pointed to earlier assessments by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which estimated Iraq’s budget deficit for 2016 by 14.1% and public debt for the same year by 6.99% of the GDP.

In February, Japan approved a loan of about $100 million to support humanitarian, counter-terrorism and infrastructure projects in Iraq.  In January, Japan agreed to lend Iraq up to 27.2 billion yen ($240 million) to rebuild damaged electricity infrastructures in areas recaptured from Islamic State militants.

(Source: GardaWorld)