Iraq plans state investment bank to push projects

Government officials have announced plans to establish a state-funded investment bank to help finance infrastructure projects and steer money towards private sector companies in Iraq.

The new institution, Investment and Development Bank of Iraq, would receive 1 percent of annual state budget allocations over seven years under a proposal that will be sent to parliament for approval. That arrangement, if it goes ahead, could eventually provide the new bank with over $10 billion to invest.

"We need this (state-funded investment bank) to push forward the economy. Our existing commercial banks do not have the skills or experience,” said Sami Al-Araji, chairman of Iraq’s National Investment Commission.

Araji added that a dedicated investment bank could help in financing some of the tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure projects which the government plans over the next several years. It could also help arrange funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, which Iraqi authorities want to develop to create jobs and diversify the economy beyond oil.

For the original January 27, 2014 piece from Reuters referenced in this summary, click here.