Prime Minister participates in work session of EBRD annual meeting …1st add

Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, for his part, said the bank is “absolutely delighted” to hold its first Annual Meeting and Business Forum in the region as the EBRD’s record in Jordan is “an amazing success story.” He noted the bank has gone from zero to one billion euros of investment in less than six years and it is committed to doing even more.

I have just signed a US$2.6 billion investment roadmap with Minister Fakhoury. Our contribution will be US$1 billion in infrastructure investment, he announced.

Yet our impact should be measured not so much by the numbers alone but by the way our investments have changed lives, boosted the private sector, supported those communities hosting refugees, and helped improve the business climate, he affirmed.

For many reasons, not least the speed with which we have scaled up our activity, our performance here has been an example of the EBRD at its very best, he said.

“But today I want to talk less about the EBRD itself and more about Jordan’s huge potential,” he told the participants.

He said “it is encouraging to see so many existing and potential investors with us in the room. We share your excitement about the opportunities to be had here.” We see a genuine appetite for reforms in the government and are committed to supporting the authorities in their efforts to do more, he noted.

We are witnessing today an expansion of the very successful PPP programme from the energy and water sectors to areas such as schools and hospitals facility management. We are actively engaged with the newly formed PPP unit within the Ministry of Finance as well as the Education and Public Works Ministries, he said.

2018 has also delivered parliamentary approval and 2018 has also delivered parliamentary approval of the secured transaction law that allows SMEs to borrow using a wider range of assets (not just real estate) as collateral. We will be supporting its roll out through dedicated training at the banks that will make this happen on the ground. So reforms are very much under way and we are doing our utmost to keep up the momentum, he added.

A great example of the variety of what Jordan has to offer is to be found in Aqaba. We have been really trying to put it on the map as a tourist destination, especially for sustainable tourism, most notably through our investment in the Ayla Oasis project, he affirmed.

On investments in Aqaba, he said : “there is much more to Aqaba than just sun, sea and sand. Growth of the container terminal is making a major difference to Jordan’s access to the regional and global economies. And the completion of the LNG terminal there is diversifying energy imports and making them much more flexible.” On energy, he noted: Jordan is a regional leader when it comes to renewables. Their share of total energy output has gone from below. Their share of total energy output has gone from below one percent in 2012 � the year we started working here � to 10 per cent today, with new, signed, projects estimated to take that figure up to 30 per cent by 2020. It is no surprise then that last year Bloomberg New Energy Finance ranked Jordan second in the world as a renewable energy investment destination.

On a related context, he noted: “a regulatory environment that is balanced, transparent and stable has certainly helped here. I mentioned PPPs earlier. They have been very much part of the recipe for success,” and said energy, renewable or otherwise, is a major focus of that. But it is not the only one.

He said the bank is also working very actively in Jordan to increase the role of the private sector in the delivery of public services.

On the private sector’s role, he affirmed the private sector investment can have a transformative effect in areas as wastewater treatment, street lighting and social infrastructure management.

He also highlighted role of Jordan’s flourishing ICT sector, which helped exciting tech start-ups such as MadfoaatCom and EON dental to market their innovative products locally and worldwide. We will also sign an MoU with Jordan’s first accelerator Oasis500 at this Annual Meeting, and we’ve been active with more mature tech companies such as Integrated Technology Group, he said.

Source: Jordan News Agency