Iraq, IFC collaborate to modernize Baghdad International Airport
Baghdad International Airport, Iraq’s primary gateway to the world, is set to undergo a transformative upgrade following a groundbreaking partnership between the Iraqi government and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
This landmark agreement paves the way for the revitalization of Baghdad International Airport, aligning it with global standards for infrastructure and security. The collaboration is expected to create a competitive framework for future essential infrastructure projects across Iraq, while also fostering increased private sector involvement.
Under the terms of the agreement, the IFC will take on a pivotal role as the primary advisor for a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative aimed at elevating Baghdad International Airport to new heights. As Iraq’s largest international airport, this development seeks to enhance the airport’s facilities and security measures.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani, emphasized the significance of this endeavor, stating, “The Baghdad International Airport serves as a cultural symbol representing Iraq and its people. This initiative is an integral component of our comprehensive vision, which will encompass all airports to enhance transportation diversity and improve global connectivity.”
Notably, this project marks Iraq’s first airport PPP venture and represents the IFC’s maiden PPP mandate within the country. The IFC will commence an exhaustive research process and develop a suitable transaction structure for the project. Following government approval, the project will progress to the bidding phase, inviting private investors and operators to participate.
This initiative aligns seamlessly with Iraq’s 2030 Vision for Sustainable Development, a strategic plan aimed at engaging the private sector, diversifying the economy, and reducing reliance on oil revenues. Prime Minister Al-Sudani expressed this alignment, stating, “This agreement marks the start of a series of partnerships with the private sector for critical infrastructure development across the country, as part of our 2030 economic vision for sustainable growth.”
Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, commented, “This agreement marks a new era in Iraqi history, allowing the country to leverage its unique geographical position, supporting trade, creating jobs, and fostering diversification.” He emphasized the role of PPPs in harnessing private sector expertise and efficiency, raising capital for modern and sustainable infrastructure, and driving development to meet Iraq’s substantial developmental and financing needs.
The IFC’s track record in the Middle East includes successful PPPs such as the innovative Queen Alia Airport, the Tafila wind farm, the Madinah Airport, and healthcare ventures, further underscoring the organization’s commitment to fostering development and growth in the region.