Iraq privatizes

Iraq seeks joint ventures

By Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent
Published: August 29 2007 22:39 | Last updated: August 29 2007 22:39

Iraq’s ministry of industry and minerals would open up all 65 of its state-owned enterprises to joint ventures with international investors by the end of the year, the minister said on Wednesday.

“We have 65 facilities under our banner and all of them will be made available for joint ventures,” Fawzi Hariri told the Financial Times on Wednesday. He was speaking at a conference in Dubai on investment opportunities in Iraq.

Attracting foreign investment is seen as vital to the reconstruction of the economy, to creating employment and, the government hopes, to reducing sectarian violence.

Mr Hariri said that the ministry was already involved in discussions on investing in cement companies in the southern provinces of Karbala and Muthanna, in the northern governorate of Kirkuk and in the far-western district of al-Qaem on the Syrian border.

It has spoken to the French-owned Lafarge group and Egypt’s Orascom. Mr Hariri said on Wednesday that he also hoped to attract Mitsubishi from Japan, Dow Chemicals from the US and other companies to the ministry’s portfolio of petrochemical and heavy industry interests.

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