Friday, September 12, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 12 Sept 2008

From USA Today, Safer Iraq draws foreign investors. (h/t Sara Horn: Faith at the Front)

BAGHDAD — Iraq is poised to receive a flood of foreign investment, thanks to improved security. More than $74 billion in projects have been submitted for government approval in just the past five months, according to Iraq's state investment regulator.

The investors include companies from the U.S., Europe, and Gulf Arab states. Their proposals all involve sectors other than oil, including a $13 billion new port for the southern city of Basra, several hotels and thousands of housing units nationwide, says Ahmed Ridha, the chairman of Iraq's National Investment Commission.

The biggest project, submitted by investors from Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, calls for an entirely new city to be built just outside the holy Shiite city of Najaf at a cost of $38 billion.

Only one of the projects has broken ground, while most others are still awaiting government approval, which has been difficult to obtain. The scale of the proposals — which, combined, equal almost as much foreign investment as China receives in a year — has drawn skeptics who say the final amount spent will be much smaller.

Read the rest here.