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The authorities are expecting the economic revival to continue: "Dr. Fa'ik Ali Abed-Elrasoul, a deputy at the Iraqi ministry of planning said that the increase in investments may lead to general growth of about 17 percent in 2005, 15 percent in 2006 and 6 percent in 2007. The deputy expects that income per capita to raise form US$780 per year in 2004 to US$1156 in 2007." Another report reminds us about the improvement in the standard of living due to a significant increase in average salaries. Meanwhile, one estimate puts the figure of direct foreign investment in Iraq over the next few years at $44 billion, mainly in the fields of manufacturing, oil and IT.
Meanwhile, the Baghdad stock exchange is growing slowly. On one Sunday in February, "the Iraqi Stock Exchange Authority reported that 852,592,679 stocks, valued ID 3,267,720,284 [$2.2 million], were traded on Baghdad Securities Market by executing 583 transactions... The authority added that the total traded shares included 792,281,065 stocks in the banking sector, 18,001,831 shares in industrial sector, 18,461,860 shares in the services sector and 2,729,778 shares in the agricultural sector." There are now 114 companies listed on the Baghdad Stock Exchange. And the volume of trade keeps rising: "Talib al-Tabatabaie, the Chairman of the Baghdad Stock Exchange, said that the value of the traded stocks on Wednesday session amounted to ID 7 billion [$4.8 mln] compared with ID 5 billion [$3.4 mln] on the previous session. The chairman expects the demand for stocks, particularly the banking stocks, to grow impressively through the upcoming period." Particularly if the laws are amended to allow foreigners to trade on the stock exchange.
The construction boom throughout Iraq is being sustained through the increasing domestic production of cement: "1.022 million tons of cement were produced during the last 6 months by the factories located all across Iraq." And in the largest construction scheme since the fall of Saddam, an Iranian firm is negotiating to build 10,000 flats for university staff in Baghdad.
In agriculture, the United Nations is contributing to the reconstruction of the sector:
"United Nations bodies have begun a series of projects to improve agricultural production in Iraq, including irrigation, fertilizers and the building of skills, the world organization's mission in the country announced today.
"The UN Development Group Trust Fund (UNDG TF) is carrying out a $35 million programme to strengthen basic irrigation and drainage engineering as well as farming skills in Iraq. The programme also seeks to encourage professionals and technicians from different disciplines to work together to benefit farmers.
"For its part the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed 500 tons of fertilizers to nearly 4,000 beneficiaries in Basra, Missan, Muthana and Thi-Qar governorates, and is procuring $6.8 million worth of equipment and livestock under a UNDG TF supported programme."
"The back alleys and dense apartment buildings of Baghdad's Haifa Street once were all the protection that Saad Jameel needed after he lobbed grenades at Iraqi policemen or fired machine-gun rounds at American convoys.
"He'd strike at will, dip into a warren of bullet-pocked storefronts and hide among neighbors he's known all his life. Confident and safe, Jameel sometimes chuckled as the troops he had just ambushed fired blindly at an attacker who was long gone.
"One day last month, however, Jameel's name turned up on a most-wanted list broadcast on al-Iraqiya, Iraq's state-run television channel. He was amazed at how much the authorities knew about him: his leadership of an insurgent cell on Haifa Street, his involvement in a string of attacks on Iraqi security forces, even his aliases.
"Jameel's safe zone crumbled as the U.S. and Iraqi forces he'd battled went on the offensive with patrols, mass arrests and a hotline for informants. He fled his neighborhood, his cell was paralyzed, and half his men were taken into custody.
"For the first time, Jameel conceded in an interview earlier this week, insurgents along Baghdad's meanest street are feeling squeezed."