The Iraqi government will announce a tender next week inviting global companies to bid for a project that involves planting trees and greening the country's 42,000 km of motorways, a senior official told Zawya.
"The ministry of construction and housing is seeking to plant trees along highways in three phases starting from 2013 and continuing till 2022. After completing the tendering process, we will start the project in the first quarter of 2013," Nibras Alkhazraji, adviser to the Iraqi minister of construction and housing, said in an interview.
Alkhazraji expects the total value of the project to be USD 700 million over the next 10 years. Phase 1 will cover around 30% of the total network, ending in December 2015. About 10% of the rest of the network will be "greened" each year after that.
The Iraqi road infrastructure requires urgent maintenance after years of war. The government has allocated 10% of any project's budget for greening, Alkhazraji said.
Iraq is located in an arid and semi-arid region, and has little rainfall. Military operations in the country since 1980 have also played a role in increasing desertification, according to a report from the Iraqi ministry of water resources.