China now plays key financial role in Iraq

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Chinese companies, Power Corporation of China and Sinotech, are currently finalizing the sub-contracting to build 1000 schools in Iraq…reports Asian Lite News

China has emerged as a key financial player in Iraq amid its policy of fostering deeper economic ties with the Middle East in recent years.

Valentin Popescu, writing in a think tank, Policy Research Group (POREG) said that China is strategically leveraging Iraqi reconstruction efforts by building energy and connectivity infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

It is also constructing schools and opening language training centres in Iraqi Universities. With the end of the US combat mission in Iraq, Beijing is pushing its energy projects with Baghdad under the BRI with overall investment to the tune of USD 10.5 billion, making Iraq the third most important partner of Chinese energy engagement.

Chinese companies, Power Corporation of China and Sinotech, are currently finalizing the sub-contracting to build 1000 schools in Iraq under the ‘oil for reconstruction’ programme signed with the Iraqi government in December 2021, reported POREG.

Beijing is also promoting the Chinese language and culture in Iraq. The Chinese Language Department in Salahaddin University, Erbil, offers language training and education to Iraqi students and also conducts events that create a positive image of China.

These efforts are apparently part of Beijing’s policy of fostering deeper economic ties with Middle East countries by taking advantage of a growing perception among Arab leaders that the US is disengaging from the region, said Popescu.

It is also attributed to Beijing’s growing appetite for Middle Eastern energy and increasing trade with the Gulf States. Iraq is already the third-biggest exporter of oil to China. Baghdad appears more than willing to receive Chinese investment to help upgrade war-ravaged and decaying infrastructure.

Beijing views Iraq as a less controversial investment destination in the region with a great deal of untapped potential and easy access. For China, the Iraqi government and people are easier to negotiate and to do business as the country is trying hard to rebuild infrastructure and push up economic growth. China also sees Iraq as a fertile base for its expansion plan in the Middle East, said Popescu. (ANI)

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