Italy, World Bank aim to build Iraq IT system

Italy and the World Bank have agreed to invest US$12 million in a new information technology system for the Iraqi civil service, a spokesman for Italy’s Innovation and Technologies Ministry said last month.

“The technical details are still being worked out,” the spokesman said. “This is part of a G8 program to promote e-government in developing countries.” The G8 is a group of eight of world’s leading industrialized nations. The Iraqi IT project was announced by Italian Innovation Minister Lucio Stanca following a meeting in Rome with the chairman of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn. “The situation in Iraq is very difficult, but we have developed a project with the World Bank to create a network for the central government, with some other applications such as a general accounting system and a population registry,” Stanca told the ANSA news agency.

The Italian Foreign Ministry’s international cooperation program will contribute up to US$3 million, with the rest provided by international development organizations including the Development Gateway Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving government efficiency in developing countries that is supported by the World Bank and the United Nations, the ministry spokesman said. The security situation in Iraq will have to be stabilized before the project can be implemented, he said.

Italy has been given a leading role in G8 projects to promote the use of information communication technology (ICT) in the developing world. Among the initiatives currently being supported by Italy are projects for electronic accounting and e-procurement in Jordan, an electronic payments system to reduce the influence of drug money on Panama’s economy and an electronic tax program for Uruguay, Stanca announced last week.