Special Report: Iraq - The reconstruction effort gets under way with new government

18 January 2011

With a new government in office, a detailed national development plan in place and international oil companies already making progress in lifting oil production, 2011 should see the rebuilding of Iraq begin in earnest

But the success of the reconstruction effort hinges as much as on the coalition government remaining intact and the authorities’ ability to combat corruption as it does on the security situation in the country.

It took nine months of discussions for the make-up of the government to be agreed on, during which time the rebuilding of critical infrastructure stalled. The new administration needs to hold firm so that progress can be made.

Huge sums of money will be pouring into Baghdad’s coffers as oil exports rise and the potential for corruption in the fragile democracy is immense. It is estimated that $1bn was embezzled last year alone.

The coalition brings together former rivals and religious adversaries and each have their own personal agenda. If Iraq is to get back on its feet without further delay, the politicians need to set aside their differences for the greater good of the country. Taking the lessons from the troubled reconstruction of Afghanistan, they also need to demonstrate utmost integrity and take personal responsibility for ensuring Iraq’s oil wealth is not squandered and that every dinar is allocated to a well-deserving project.

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