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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 16:36 GMT
How could South Asia help in the reconstruction of a post-war Iraq?
Muhammad Yunus
With the prospect of war in Iraq, discussion goes on as to how the country should be rebuilt following such a conflict.

It would be in everybody's interests, not least South Asia's, for Iraq to be stable and prosperous, but where should the model for reconstruction come from?

In 1983 Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist, reversed conventional banking by forming the Grameen Bank.

The bank provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral.

Muhammad Yunus discovered that microcredit could both fight poverty and serve as a catalyst for improving the socio-economic conditions of the poor.

Could South Asian innovations such as this be applied to a post-war Iraq, or would an entirely new approach be required in that context?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I have a great idea of reconstructing Iraq. Do not destroy it. Avoid war.
Ravi Bhensdadia, New Zealand

Nothing changed in Kuwait after its "liberation" in the Gulf War. Whatever political-economic system the US/UK applies to post-Saddam Iraq, one can be sure that capitalism-democracy won't be one of them - it wouldn't be easy for the US/UK to milk cheap oil from a truly democratic Iraq.
M. M. Zaman, USA

The issue of contracts to rebuild Iraq is criminal! Those who are awarded these contracts will of course want the war to go ahead regardless so that they can get the money to do the job. When money talks, people's lives mean nothing.
T. Palmer, New Zealand

Why the USA and UK are trying to clone the rest of human society in their own image?
Gnanadurai, India
It is most despicable for USA and UK to destabilise and destroy other nations and then throw a few crumbs to their favoured despots later. Why can't the USA and UK allow Iraq and others to build themselves in their own way instead of trying to clone politically, economically and socially the rest of human society in their own image?
Gnanadurai, India

Creating a program like the Grameen Bank for Iraq would be beneficial in giving the Iraqi people a stake in the economy of their nation. This would help different factions cooperate by giving them a common interest (their bank accounts). It is a very small scale project, though and would only play a very small role in any reconstruction plan. South Asia would, however, be able to provide information on how to integrate Islam with the current world economic systems.
Joy, USA

In the first place, why should there be a reconstruction of post-war Iraq. There shouldn't be a war at all. You destruct a nation and then you expect other people to clean up afterwards. Where is the logic? What a shame!! It is immoral and unethical.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

A combination of aid from all parts of the world, not any one part exclusively, is the best solution overall. Iraq already has the resources it needs to get back on its feet: an educated population and a well-developed industry with rich oil reserves, it will likely only need to modernize its financial institutions and broker deals for foreign investment.
Miguel, Mexico/USA

Why should South Asia do the rebuilding job?
Kashif Saeed, Peshawar, Pakistan
Why should South Asia do the rebuilding job? After all it's one of the most underdeveloped regions in the world. Mr Bush says "we will deliver the food and medicine to the Iraqi people". He is forgetting the Daisy Cutters and his B-52s will be dropping bombs over Iraq. Delivering the medicine to those whom you bomb is an action that he must be more than ashamed of.
Kashif Saeed, Peshawar, Pakistan

The most enviable post-war effort is the setting up of an efficient and scientific educational system. Iraq will then pioneer an educational revolution in the Muslim world and this will bring the humans much closer than ever before....throughout the world.
Gajendra Pratap, Spain / India

Unless USA is committed to stability in Iraq, our efforts to reconstruct Iraq will be in vain.
Bhumika Ghimire, Nepal

Why are we bent on a war? The South Asians can help Iraq in its transformation to a democratic system and reconstruction.
Khalid Rahim, Canada

Countries must change their habits if peace is to be enjoyed in this world
Kapali Viswanathan, India/Australia
It is clinical of the USA and the UK to create instabilities in foreign regions for their own interests and then totally abandon the region for its neighbours to develop. The foreign policies of the USA and the UK have created more problems than what the entire world can solve. Countries must change their habits if peace is to be enjoyed in this world. Think about building but not "rebuilding".
Kapali Viswanathan, India/Australia

Encompassing ideas such as those of Professor Yunus into the reconstruction of Iraq will be most helpful. Necessity is the mother of all invention, so truly innovative ideas on improving the socio-economic outlook of a nation will best be derived from countries who have done so themselves.
Mike Brewster, USA

Isn't it ironic that a war that may be initiated by the West to essentially protect Western interests, should look even in part to South Asia for reconstruction. I come from India and India has played its own small part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We have donated three aeroplanes to get Ariana Afghanistan Airlines on its feet, schools and a couple of hospitals and the same kind of input we and other South Asian countries will provide. But the real lucrative contracts as the spoils of war will go to the West - that we all know
Shantanu Dutta, India

South Asian nations, the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) and other neighbouring countries should, please, come up with contingency plans to help the people of Iraq, most of whom have needlessly suffered and endured nearly fifteen years of war, military intervention aerial surveillance, global sanctions and iron-fisted dictatorship - all of which has ravaged a once-bustling, thriving, oil-rich and oil-driven economy.
Igonikon Jack, USA

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