Two Chinese companies have won a contract to build 8,000 schools in Iraq as part of a landmark oil-for-projects agreement signed by the two countries three years ago, the official Iraq Alsabah newspaper said on Wednesday. 

PowerChina and Sinotec will construct 1,000 schools in various parts of the OPEC member in 2022, the paper said, quoting Iraqi cabinet secretary Haidar Majeed. 

Majeed said the two firms would also build 3,000 schools in 2023 and 4,000 units in 2024, adding that land plots have already been allotted for the projects. 

“The two Chinese companies have just launched a project to build 1,000 schools in 2022 within an agreement for the construction of 8,000 schools in Iraq,” he said. 

Majeed noted that Iraq needs at least 12,000 schools for the time being to accommodate the growing number of students but he did not make clear if the remaining units would be built by the Chinese. 

In 2019, Baghdad and Beijing signed an accord allowing Chinese firms to undertake projects in Iraq in exchange for crude oil supplies. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)(