Workers at the construction site of Azadi Hospital in Dohuk, April 2018

Iraq Germany supports transformation, reforms and reconstruction

After years of crisis, Iraq is seeing positive momentum. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is cooperating with the country to support these developments and consolidate progress made. The aim of Germany’s involvement is to help stabilise Iraq in political, social and economic terms, support comprehensive reforms and broaden the basis for people to live together peacefully.

Straight to
Rebuilding the destroyed Al Shifaa Hospital in Mosul

Following a time marked by violence, Iraq now has a comparatively stable security situation. The remaining challenges to be dealt with include the country’s heavy economic dependence on oil exports, a bloated public sector and weak private sector, high population growth and a lack of economic prospects, especially for the young generation.

The situation continues to be marked by social tensions and ethno-religious conflicts, corruption, significant deficits in meeting the basic needs of the population and the unresolved conflicts over resources and territorial disputes between the central government and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Even if the terrorist organisation calling itself Islamic State (IS) is regarded as having been defeated territorially, active cells and militias still exist. Since 2014, more than six million people have either been displaced by the activities of IS or have fled their homes in an effort to escape the fighting between the IS and Iraqi government forces. Although most of them have now returned to their home towns, there are still more than one million internally displaced persons in Iraq. What is more, there are around 285,000 refugees from Syria living in Iraq.

However, as the situation on the whole has significantly improved, humanitarian assistance and the crisis response measures are being phased out gradually.

German development cooperation with Iraq

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Transitional development assistance in Iraq

File type PDF | Date of status 05/2022 | File size 901 KB, Pages 3 Pages

The BMZ has been cooperating with Iraq since 2014. The country is one of the so-called nexus and peace partners of German development cooperation. For many years, German activities in Iraq were focused on supporting Syrian refugees, internally displaced Iraqis and the communities in northern and central Iraq that were hosting especially large numbers of displaced persons and refugees. Now that the IS has been pushed back, the focus of cooperation has shifted to rebuilding the country and promoting long-term reform processes.

Germany has made about three billion euros available to Iraq since 2014 and is thus the second-largest donor after the US. About two billion euros of this total amount is from the budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In 2023, the BMZ will probably make around 130 million euros available to Iraq, of which just under 90 million euros is for crisis management, reconstruction and infrastructure (transitional development assistance (External link)) and for projects under the Special Initiative “Displaced Persons and Host Countries” (External link).

Aims of German activities

The BMZ wants to contribute to the political, social and economic stability in Iraq and help create the foundations for peaceful and inclusive coexistence. Germany is engaged in a wide variety of activities. It ranges from short-term refugee support to the reconstruction of liberated areas and all the way to support for long-term political reforms. Important aspects are social reconciliation, inclusive governance and economic development.

The main focus of German-Iraqi development cooperation is currently on the following core areas: “Peaceful and inclusive societies” and “Sustainable economic development, training and employment”. As Iraq is one of the five countries suffering most from the impacts of climate change and at the same time it is one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and as such contributing massively to the causes of climate change, the BMZ will in future focus its activities increasingly on climate issues and the environment and on economic transformation.

An overview of German activities

Support is being provided to assist refugees and internally displaced persons living in camps, and also host communities, particularly in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. German activities are focused in particular on the following aspects:

  • Drinking water supply
  • Health care services
  • School education
  • Psychosocial support
  • Creating jobs and income (Cash for Work (External link))
  • Social cohesion

The regional focus of BMZ activities in the context of reconstruction is on the provinces of Nineveh and Anbar in the north and west of the country, which have been liberated from the IS. German activities revolve around the following areas of work:

  • Rebuilding basic infrastructure
  • Creating employment opportunities and income, reviving local economies
  • Promoting dialogue and peaceful coexistence
  • Opening existing projects up for returnees (including from Germany), funding two centres for migration and development in Erbil and Baghdad as first ports of call

With the aim of supporting reforms, Germany cooperates closely with Iraqi government authorities.

  • Supporting reform processes in the areas of private sector development and job creation, strengthening the sub-national government level (including via World Bank funds)
  • Strengthening political participation
  • Truth and reconciliation, and documentation of human rights violations, in particular crimes committed against Yazidi women and men

Impacts of Germany's activities

Up to the end of 2022, German development cooperation activities were contributing towards improving the drinking water supply for about 3.5 million people and the sanitation and wastewater systems for more than 940,000 people. These activities included rebuilding and extending the drinking water systems in Mosul and Faida.

Thanks to the reconstruction of healthcare facilities and the training of about 2,400 healthcare staff, so far 3.9 million people have been given access to basic medical services. More than 300,000 people have benefited from psychosocial support and trauma counselling.

Furthermore, more than 830 schools have been built or rebuilt and more than 2,700 teachers have been trained. More than 800,000 pupils have thus been given the chance to attend lessons in school.

A cash-for-work project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

In order to open up possibilities for people to find work and earn an income, the BMZ has been financing cash-for-work measures and has supported the establishment of business hubs and open access workshops (maker spaces) in Basra, Baghdad and Erbil. Thanks to these activities, just under 116,000 short- or long-term jobs have been created so far. More than 2,000 business start-ups have been supported, including around 100 start-ups in the IT and communications sector.

In Mosul and the region of Nineveh, German support has helped to rebuild more than 6,500 homes. Playgrounds and cultural and community centres have also been established or renovated. So far, more than 40,000 people have been able to find permanent homes. More than 227,000 people have participated in social activities that promote social cohesion.

Current situation

Viewof Baghdad
Hasan Sham camp for internally displaced persons near Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Rebuilding the destroyed Al Shifaa Hospital in Mosul

As at: 31/08/2023