Amman : Friday, August 18, 2006

Iraq has signed two agreements with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), whereby the Bank will provide a soft loan of US$ 12.9 Million for constructing and furnishing 15 elementary schools and a technical assistance grant for capacity building in the Iraqi Ministry of Education.

According to the first agreement, implementation of the 15-school project will take almost 30 months as of the signing of the agreement. 7200 pupils will benefit from enrolment in the schools which will be distributed throughout the country. The project is part of an Iraqi government plan to improve basic education and enhance the absorptive and enrolment capacities of the schools. The soft loan will be repaid over 20 years, including a 5-year grace period.

The second agreement provides for extending US$ 390,000 in the form of a technical assistance grant for enhancing the institutional capacity of the Iraqi Ministry of Education.

The agreements were signed by the Iraqi Central Bank Governor, Dr. Senan Al-Shubaibi, who is also the IDB Governor for Iraq; and the IDB President Dr. Ahmad Mohamad Ali.

Dr. Al-Shubaibi expressed his happiness at the fruitful cooperation between his country and the Islamic Development Bank and reiterated Iraq's interest and keenness to maintain and promote further this cooperation.

The IDB President pointed out that the two agreements were part of a US$ 500 million program launched by the Bank for supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort in Iraq. The program is a 5-year financing plan which includes US$ 50 million in soft loans for social services, including the education sector, US$ 245 million for public utilities and agriculture, US$ 200 million for importing basic commodities and capital goods, and US$ 5 million in the form of technical assistance grants for capacity building and project preparation. Out of that US$ 5 million grant, US$ 2.5 million were provided for supplying medicines and relief assistance for the war victims.