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Iraq: Building a New Society

Bureau of Public Affairs
January 6, 2005

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Students sitting at desks. ©USAID, Thomas Hartwell

"Like every nation that has made the journey to democracy, Iraqis will raise up a government that reflects their own culture and values…Iraqis will write their own history, and find their own way."
—President George W. Bush

Iraqis, with help from the Coalition and many partners, are rebuilding their country and offering freedom, new opportunities and much needed services to their people. Security problems remain a major challenge for the Iraqi people and for development in various parts of the country. Nevertheless, real progress has been made in many key areas.

THE ROAD TO DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT

  • Interim Government announced, Governing Council dissolved-June 1
  • Election Commission established-June 4
  • Transfer of sovereignty to Iraqi Interim Government-June 28
  • National Conference convenes and selects Interim National Council-August 15
  • National elections for transitional government- January 30, 2005

  Infrastructure 
  • Oil revenues for the Iraqi people since June 2003 have been estimated at nearly $18 billion.
  • Access to essential services is being provided without discrimination.
  • The port of Umm Qasr has been rehabilitated and reopened to commercial traffic, producing more than $18 million in tariff revenues, with projections of more than $24 million this year.
  • The Al Mat Bridge in northern Iraq, the Tikrit Bridge in central Iraq, and the Khazir Bridge on the highway between Baghdad and Jordan in western Iraq have been renovated, allowing the delivery of commercial and humanitarian cargo throughout Iraq.
  • Water and sanitation projects are underway across Iraq, benefiting 11.8 million residents.
  • A new program will clear 20,000 kilometers of Iraq's waterways and employ about 100,000 Iraqis.

Security and Stability

  • More than 100,000 law enforcement officers are on duty.
  • More than 62,000 Iraqi armed forces, including army, air force, national guard, and coastal defense units, are serving or training.

Education

  • Over 2,405 schools have been rehabilitated, 33,000 secondary school teachers trained and 8.7 million textbooks printed and distributed.
  • Twenty-five Fulbright grantees and over 20 Iraqi high school students are studying in U.S. educational institutions.
  • The first "American Corner" opened in Iraq, including hundreds of books about the U.S., a video and DVD library, Internet connected computers and videoconferencing capabilities.

Health

  • Ground was broken on the first two of 150 new primary health care centers to be built across Iraq.
  • Some 110 health clinics have been opened, 2,500 medical staff are being trained, and over 600 medical centers are being equipped.
  • Five million children under the age of 5 have been vaccinated against childhood diseases.

Economic Growth

  • The new Iraqi currency is stable and has appreciated against many currencies.
  • Small loans for entrepreneurs totaling over $33 million are available around the country.
  • The Iraq Stock Exchange opened in June 2004 including 44 companies with a market capitalization of over $1.9 billion.
  • An Economic Trade zone in the north is being developed, connecting it to the central and southern regions.
  • Business training courses are being offered to Iraqi businesspeople.

Advancing Women

  • The Iraqi cabinet includes six women ministers and seven women deputy ministers.
  • Twenty-eight women's centers throughout Iraq (22 now open) offer computer and literacy classes, job skills, and access to information about health care and legal services.

Press

  • Iraq has a vibrant and free press—with over 300 newspapers and numerous television and radio outlets.
  • Iraq has welcomed the world's press; many media have opened permanent offices.
  • Iraqis have access to a variety of information sources allowing the independent formation of opinions and the ability to make crucial decisions about the future.

Culture

  • Cultural preservation activities are underway at the Iraq National Museum and the Iraq National Library.
  • An Archaeological Site Protection Plan and stolen artifact list are being developed.
  • The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra performed in the U.S. and had workshops with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
  • Iraqi wrestlers, boxers, and archers received training in the U.S. and participated in the 2004 summer Olympics.
  • The Iraqi soccer team, competing in the Olympics for the first time since 1988, qualified for the semi-finals.


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