Kuwait expected to get reconstruction contracts for Iraq

Monday, April 7, 2003

ABU DHABI Kuwait is expected to be the only Gulf Arab state awarded major contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Arab analysts said a U.S.-controlled administration in Iraq will likely provide Western coalition members with most of the contracts for the multi-billion dollar effort to rebuild Iraq. They said the only Gulf Cooperation Council country expected to obtain a major portion of those contracts is Kuwait.

"There will be some opportunities," Jamal Hazeem, chief executive officer of the Bahrain Economic Board, said. "But the majority of the contracts are expected to go to Western countries."

Kuwait has already won U.S. military contracts for air conditioners and other equipment for a civil administration in southern Iraq. The sheikdom also sold more than $500 million worth of food and supplies during the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf earlier this year.

Saudi Arabia has demanded that the United States award companies in the kingdom contracts for reconstruction of Iraq's oil sector. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also expected to press for contracts.

"There is a lot of work to be done in many sectors to rebuild Iraq," Arab Monetary Fund director-general Jassim Al Mannai said. "There will be work do done in the health sector, roads infrastructure, airports, communications and many other areas."

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