Iraq to build new capital city near Baghdad International Airport

Iraq has announced plans to build an administrative capital outside Baghdad. The National Investment Commission (NIC), which promotes investment in the country, said Al-Rafeel city would be located on a 400 sq km parcel of land near Baghdad International Airport.

Suha Al-Najjar, the chair of the NIC, told the official Al Sabaah newspaper yesterday that the project would be executed in four stages. The first would involve the construction of some 75,000 homes for up to 300,000 people, as well as shops, offices, hospitals, schools and leisure amenities.

She said the plan followed a programme set out by the US consultant CH2M Hill, before it was acquired by Jacobs Engineering.

The NIC is packaging the project as a series of investment opportunities. Al-Najjar said: "We expect these will have positive effects on the Iraqi economy, especially with regard to the urgent and growing need for housing. It is expected that the project will meet the need of about 1 million people and will also provide more than 100,000 job opportunities."

She added that the NIC set strict controls for the employment of foreign labour, and they were limited to specialised roles that the Iraqi labour market could not fill.

The NIC expects shortly to announce up to 12 packages related to "integrated housing and service facilities".

The Iraqi cabinet gave final approval for the project on Tuesday.

The Zawya news site notes that the NIC did not give any estimated costs for the project, but adds that it would be located next to Bismayaha City, a $7.7bn residential project being constructed by South Korea’s Hanwha Company (pictured). 

When complete, Bismayaha will house over 600,000 people.

Image: The administrative capital will be located next to Bismayaha new city (Photograph from the website of Iraq’s National Investment Commission)

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