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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
US firms win $10m Iraq deals
Girl in Baghdad school
Saddam Hussein has been prominent in Iraqi classrooms

Two US companies have won contracts worth a total of $10m (6.4m) for reconstructing Iraqi local government and education.

The contracts are the third and fourth awarded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under US Government plans for rebuilding Iraq.

Research Triangle Institute picked up a $7.9m deal to provide technical assistance to strengthen local administrations, civic institutions and civil society.

USAID said the company would "create programs to increase management skills, knowledge and capacity of local administrators to direct services such as water, health and public sanitation and in areas such as economic governance".

Activities under the contract would "target underrepresented or 'at risk' groups, including organisations that promote women's rights and strive to help youth and minority groups to participate in the political process", USAID said.

Resupplying schools

Creative Associates International (CAI) was awarded a $2m, 12-month contract which USAID said was "to address immediate educational needs and promote participation of the Iraqi people in a sustainable, decentralized educational system".

Work under the contract will include assessing the state of the country's education system, improving teacher training and providing essential school supplies.

The rehabilitation of Umm Qasr Port and selected airports will be an immediate priority

"We want to make sure that the school system the Iraqis have will respond to the democratic system I am sure they will wish to establish," said USAID spokesman Alfonso Aguilar.

"In terms of text books we will make sure to provide text books that are reliable and useful to students. In no way or form are we trying to impose anything."

USAID said the CAI contract did not include producing text books - this work would be tendered separately, it said.

Four contracts to come

USAID earlier awarded a $4.8m deal for managing Umm Qasr Port to Stevedoring Services of America and a $7m contract for USAID personnel support to International Resources Group.

The firm will manage the access of trucking companies to the port and establish a system of controls to avoid theft and corruption

A contract to put out oil well fires and repair oil facilities was awarded to US engineering firm Kellogg Brown & Root by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Four USAID contracts have yet to be awarded, including airport management and an estimated $600m capital construction project for rebuilding transport, power and water networks.

Up to three more tenders are expected soon, for agriculture, economic governance, and monitoring and assessing the capital construction contract.

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