For Immediate Release
December 6, 2004
Iraq Reconstruction Progress
From remarks by USAID Administrator Natsios, 12/3/04
The United States is implementing large-scale reform in Iraq. Despite the insurgency in some areas of Iraq, U.S. programs are moving forward.
Central public services: There were decades of limited or no repair of the electrical grid, but nearly all of that has been repaired. Saddam ensured that the capital city had power around the clock for political reasons, but the rest of Iraq didn't. Now, power is being distributed across the country.
Health and education: The health clinic system had almost completely collapsed under Saddam Hussein. Now, more than 3 million children under age 5 have been immunized, and up to 100,000 pregnant women have been educated in neonatal care.
Water and sewer systems: The United States is rehabilitating nine sewer treatment plants, some of which have already opened. We will increase treated waste water by 250 million gallons per day by the first quarter of 2005.
Education: Some 25 years ago, Iraq had one of the best educations systems in the Middle East. That steadily declined during the 1990s. About 2,500 schools have been repaired, 32,000 teachers trained, and 8.7 million textbooks printed.
Economy: An economic infrastructure will contribute to Iraq's ability to eventually enter the World Trade Organization and have WTO accession, which is an important factor in their entrance into international markets. The United States is helping Iraq with private sector trade development; running a $100 million agriculture program; and training a new workforce.
Governance: Some 12,000 town and city councilors have been locally appointed and elected. Iraqis are learning to have public hearings, how to vote, how to write capital and operating budgets, and more. These are skills which can improve public administration over the long term.