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REBUILD IRAQ 2008: ITALY ON SHOW WITH ITS CONSTRUCTION, ELECTRONICS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY
In 2008 there are 11.4 billion dollars available for the reconstruction of Iraq: this is the sum allocated by the Iraqi government in an annual budget worth 48.4 billion, 18% more than 2007. Thanks to oil, that according to the Iraqi Central Bank accounts for 88% of the state budget, there are huge sums available for firms interested in civilian and infrastructure reconstruction in this middle Eastern country. Its gradual stabilisation opens up enormous opportunities for the next few years: there are already 2.500 projects planned that will require materials, equipment, solutions and engineering know-how. According to World Bank estimates, reconstruction costs in the next years will amount to around 230 billion dollars.
The opportunities offered by the 2008 edition of Rebuild Iraq , an international fair dedicated to reconstruction projects, are even more significant when considering that in 2007 Iraqi ministries managed to execute only 1% of the budget allocated to them by the Government. The event will take place in Jordan, at the Exhibition Park in Amman, from the 5th to the 8th May, and will be attended by a delegation of Italian firms organised by the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), who has decided to repeat last years‚Äô positive experience.
The fair concentrates on the following sectors: civil construction, electricity generation, road and bridge building, airports and ports, telecommunications, water systems (sewers and water treatment), oil&gas, health, agriculture, education, information technology (including security systems), durable consumer goods, fast moving consumer goods (household products, cosmetics, electronic and electric products, textiles, shoes, leather products, food). Foreign firms have the opportunity to present their products to Iraqi clients, international contractors and subcontractors as well as representatives of the Iraqi government and Iraq Development Fund.
In 2007 international participation to the event increased compared to the previous year: there 716 firms from 41 countries. Among the 28 national pavilions, the Italian one was one of the largest, with 25 firms ‚Äď more than the British (16), French (15) and Japan (10) ‚Äď and around 1.200 brands being represented. ICE has decided to take part again in the event knowing that Italy‚Äôs presence in Iraq need to be consolidated, in order to gain visibility for future bids for public contracts.
Italy will take part in the 2008 fair in a good period for some of its strategic sectors, potentially interested in reconstruction projects in Iraq, like the construction industry which in 2006 grew by 11.7% (source: Sistema Integrato Saie di Bologna Fiere and Cresme). Reading the accounts of the 1.200 Italian firms in this sector it is clear that the growth in turnover derives mainly from abroad: a sound base for winning new contracts in Iraq. 2006 has been positive also for the raw materials industry, which grew overall by 11.2%. Electronics is another promising sector, which in 2006 reached a turnover of 60 billion euros and has further growth margins. Lastly, another industry that may find success in Iraq is telecommunications; last year the ITC sector in Italy ‚Äď which also comprises information technology ‚Äď was worth 64.4 billion euros, slightly more than in 2006 (+0.9%).