OEC producer Iraq has awarded a large project to the Saudi ‘Al-Arifi Group’ involving the construction of part of its new administrative capital near Baghdad, an Iraqi official was reported on Monday as saying.

‘Al-Rafeel’ administrative capital, which is similar to Egypt’s Cairo administrative capital project, has an area of more than 200 square kilometres and comprises a large number of houses that could accommodate more than 300,000 people,” said Suha Al-Najjar, head of the National Investment Commission.

She told the Saudi daily Alsharqalawsat that Al-Rafeel would be completed within10 years and that it is one of several “large housing and services projects” to be executed by Iraq to tackle a post-war housing crisis.

“We have contracted with the Saudi Al-Arifi Group for the execution of the largest projects in the new administrative capital,” Najjar said.

“This project has two phases…the first covers housing and services and the second comprises a large amusement project similar the Jeddah fun city...this project represents a real outlet for Baghdad residents as it comprises various fun facilities.”

Najjar said another project in the administrative capital was awarded to UAE investors, adding that it comprises houses, services, amusement, hospitals, schools and shops.

She did not name the UAE firm but Emaar of Dubai had been involved in residential projects in Iraq, which has been locked in a massive post-war reconstruction programme that could cost more than $100 billion. 

In previous comments, Najjar said phase one comprises the construction of around 75,000 houses as well as commercial, education, health and amusement facilities. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)