Iraq has awarded a large project to build an administrative capital near its political capital Baghdad to a UAE developer, an official was quoted on Monday as saying. 

Surveys for the project site near Baghdad International Airport have been completed and work on its infrastructure will soon be launched, said Suha Al-Najjar, head of the National Investment Commission (NIC). 

The city will have an area of nearly 165 square kilometers (sq km) and will be called “Al-Rafeel”, which be completed within 10 years,” she said, quoted by the official Iraq news agency. 

“This project will be executed in four phases…it has been awarded to a UAE government company,” she said. 

Najjar did not name the developer but Emaar of Dubai had been involved in residential projects in Iraq, which has been locked in a massive post-war reconstruction programme. 

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

She said this phase would accommodate nearly 300,000 people, adding that total housing capacity would exceed one million people when the project is completed. 

 She did not mention estimated costs but said the project is located just opposite 'Bismaya City', a $7.7 billion residential project being constructed by South Korea’s Hanwha Company 10km Southeast of the capital Baghdad. When it is completed, Bismaya will house over 600,000 people. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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