The Iraqi Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced last week the start of work to build a new administrative city on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, which is to stretch over an area of 165 square miles. Planners hope that the city, which is to bear the name Al-Rafeel, will grease the wheels of the capital’s economy and help resolve the area’s housing crisis.
The National Investment Commission said, “Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi agreed to allocate the area surrounding the Baghdad International Airport to establish the country’s administrative capital.”
The commission said in a statement that the project would be executed in four stages: the first would involve residential, educational, commercial, medical, service, and recreational complexes and would extend over 25 square miles, contributing to the provision of 75,000 housing units. The second stage would include the launch of industrial, logistics and services projects adjacent to the airport, while the third stage would witness the launch of environmentally friendly agricultural and food projects. The fourth stage would take place in Abu Ghraib district.
Ahmed Yassin al-Hashemi, the associate director of Baghdad’s Planning Department, told Al-Monitor that the Al-Rafeel project was part of the new development plan for the capital. The project includes a comprehensive, multiyear study of the capital conducted by the urban planning companies Khatib and Alami and the department.
Hashemi said the plan also includes finding solutions to slums and major violations to the building code. “There are recommendations that have been made, including organizing and determining how to deal with violators based on a specific timetable. But this issue is still under examination given its complexity, knowing that many projects have been halted due to violations.”