Slow start to donors' conference

24 October 2003
The first day of the Iraq donors' conference in Madrid did not produce any significant new pledges from donors. Senior officials attending the meeting said it would take time to reach the $36,000 million target that the World Bank says is needed for the reconstruction effort in the country, but that the sum was attainable. 'If you look at the commitments coming, there is plenty of money to kick-start this reconstruction process,' said World Bank country manager for Iraq, Nick Kraft. 'Nobody for a moment thinks that we are going to see pledges of $36,000 million,' EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Pattern told reporters at the meeting.

About 60 countries, 19 international organisations, more than 220 companies and 13 non-governmental groups are attending the conference, which aims to raise as much money as possible for the reconstruction effort in Iraq. Pledges already made include $20,300 million from the United States, $3,000 million-5,000 million from the World Bank, $5,000 million from Japan, $835 million from UK, $300 million from Spain, $231 million from the European Union, $32.6 million from Sweden, $5.9 million from Belgium, $174 million from Italy, $200 million from South Korea and $150 million from Canada (MEED 23:10:03).

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