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Iraq Signs MIGA Convention

WASHINGTON, DC, October 21, 2007—Iraq became the 174th signatory country of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group. Membership in MIGA will allow eligible foreign companies seeking to invest in Iraq to receive political risk insurance (guarantees) for eligible investments.

The signing ceremony was held on Saturday, October 20, at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC.  Representing the Republic of Iraq was Finance Minister Baker Jabor Al-Zubaidy. He was joined by MIGA Executive Vice President, Yukiko Omura, Iraq Central Bank Governor Sinan Al- Shibibi, Ambassador Sameer Al-Sumaidaee, World Bank Executive Director Merza Hussain Hasan, and Peter Cleary, Director and General Counsel, MIGA.

“We are pleased to cross this important milestone and come one step closer to achieving membership in MIGA,” said Minister Al-Zubaidy. “Iraq is seeking to establish bilateral relations and closer association with organizations such as this to put Iraq on the map and achieve progress and prosperity for our people.”

To become a full member of MIGA, Iraq must complete the ratification process and make its initial capital contribution to the agency.

MIGA’s coverage protects investments against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, breach of contract, and war and civil disturbance. Iraqi investors seeking guarantees for investments in other developing member countries will also be eligible for coverage.

“There is tremendous investment potential in Iraq,” said MIGA Executive Vice President Omura. “Projects supported by MIGA create confidence among the international and domestic business communities, helping to attract additional investment and encourage the return of flight capital.”

Iraq has a rich and diverse resource base, but years of conflict have taken their toll. The country is plagued with severe poverty stemming from decades of economic decline combined with the impact of the recent war. Unemployment is estimated to be at least 30 percent—almost twice the regional average. An estimated $55 billion is needed for reconstruction and development over the next four years.

For information:
Angie Gentile, agentile@worldbank.org, 202.473.3509 Release no. 2007/118
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