Iraq: Iraq's cabinet has approved a USD 692m contract for the construction of a massive cement factory in southern Iraq. The 185-acre factory will be built in Diwaniya province, around 150km south of Baghdad according to government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.
The contract was awarded to a joint venture group consisting of an Iraqi company and an Italian firm, but officials declined to give further details. "(The cabinet) has given approval to award an investment licence to erect a cement factory in Diwaniya province to a (local) firm, which is in a joint venture with an Italian firm for a total value of USD 692m," said the cabinet in a statement.
Iraq has some of the world's largest oil reserves and is opening itself up to foreign investors to help it rebuild after decades of war and economic isolation. The government has set a target of USD 30bn for total investment in 2011, mostly in the energy, housing and agriculture sectors.
The National Investment Commission has previously put together an investment plan of 750 projects valued at USD 600bn for rebuilding the country. Its five-year plan totals USD 186bn, of which USD 86bn is to come from foreign and local private investment.