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IFC and World Bank Identify Constraints to Developing Iraq’s Housing Sector


In Amman:
Nesreen Abu-Suleiman
Telephone: 00962-6 5678050 ext.249
Email: nabousuleiman@ifc.org

In Cairo:
Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa
Communications Team
Telephone: 0020 (2) 461 9150 Ext. 314/306
Emails: egermanetti@ifc.org/rmustafa@ifc.org



Amman, December 6, 2006— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, joined today with the World Bank and the United Nations Humans Settlement Program to release the final findings report of the Iraq Housing Construction Market Study.  The release took place during a two-day workshop in Jordan, which brought together key stakeholders from the Iraqi public and private sectors.

Housing needs in Iraq are substantial, with a deficit estimated at 1 to 1.5 million dwelling units. As population growth rates are likely to increase, housing needs are expected to escalate further, especially in the largest cities, as internally displaced persons return and rural households seek economic opportunities there. The housing market faces severe challenges and constraints, including limited access to formal sector finance, little private sector–led development, complicated procedures, inefficient land management and services, and weak institutional support.

The purpose of the Iraq Housing Sector Market Study findings report is twofold: to identify key constraints to developing the housing construction industry, with a focus on the cities of Mosul, Erbil, Najaf, and Nasiriya; and to recommend ways to increase the sector’s capacity to meet future demands for housing and generate employment in urban Iraq. The project is being implemented by IFC’s technical assistance facility for the Middle East and North Africa, PEP-MENA.

PEP-MENA’s Senior Operations Manager, Mary Peschka, said, “IFC is delighted to join forces with the World Bank to support the housing construction sector in Iraq. We believe that strengthening the financial mechanisms and regulatory environment and encouraging private sector development will help meet future housing demand and generate employment.”

The World Bank’s Task Manager, Sateh El-Arnaout, added, “Considering the importance of the housing sector for Iraq’s economic development and social stability, the World Bank intends to support it actively, in partnership with other international organizations. We want to help the Iraqi government address its housing sector issues.”

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About PEP-MENA

IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About the World Bank

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. The World Bank includes two development institutions owned by 184 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle-income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the world’s poorest countries. Together they provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications, and many other purposes. For more information, visit
www.worldbank.org.