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Fakhoury urges joint action by Arab funds to support Jordan’s development priorities

By JT - Apr 07,2016 - Last updated at Apr 07,2016

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury (right) and Minister of Finance Omar Malhas attend the Joint Annual Meeting of the Arab Financial Institutions in Bahrain on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Planning Ministry)

AMMAN – Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury headed the Jordanian delegation to the 45th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) in Bahrain, which also hosted the Joint Annual Meeting of the Arab Financial Institutions in April 5-6.

According to a Planning Ministry statement, Fakhoury, who is also Jordan's governor at AFESD, said the meeting discussed a number of issues related to the work and activities of the fund and approved the administrative and financial reports for 2015.

The minister highlighted the importance of participating in the meeting as the fund played an "outstanding" role in supporting development in Jordan, indicating that AFESD contributed to funding 46 projects between 1975 and 2015 valued at nearly $1.9 billion. 

According to the statement, the value of grants extended by the fund during the same period reached around $46 million.

The ministry said that Fakhoury also took part in the sixth meeting of the supervisory council of special account that the Arab Fund created to support SMEs. 

The special account funded a number of programmes and SMEs in Jordan through concessionary loans that amounted to $130 million. It also provided a grant of $250,000 to the Development and Employment Fund, to develop its tools of providing funding to SMEs, said the statement, which noted that Jordan and Djibouti were the only two Arab countries that received such grants among member countries in 2015.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Fakhoury held meetings with AFESD Director General and Chairman Abdul Lateef Al Hamad, Director General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Abdelwahab Ahmad Al Bader and Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development Youssef Bin Ibrahim Al Bassam and discussed ways to boost future cooperation. 

He stressed the need to increase the funds' financial and technical support to enable the Kingdom implement its priority projects in the various sectors, particularly in light of the challenges facing the Jordanian economy due to regional instability and its humanitarian repercussions, said the statement. 

Fakhoury, according to the statement, urged the executives of the Arab financial and development institutions to consider the current conditions of middle-income countries that are affected by regional conflicts and to provide them with concessionary loans.

Fakhoury and the AFSED chairman discussed follow-up and field visits to governorate development projects and also looked into designing comprehensive development programmes to support areas requiring more focused interventions such the Jordan Valley. 

At the meetings, the minister briefed the officials on the outcomes of London conference on supporting the countries hosting Syrian refugees, and urged them translate their financial pledges to Jordan to enable it overcome challenges caused by the influx of Syrian refugees through funding projects listed in the Jordan Response Plan.

Also on the sidelines of the Bahrain conference, the ministry said that Fakhoury held a meeting with Khaled Abboudi, the CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, which is part of the Islamic Development Bank. 

The meeting focused on discussing the corporation's future plans in Jordan and the role it can play in funding SMEs in cooperation with government institutions and Islamic banks in the Kingdom. The corporation is currently extending funding lines to the private sector to implement a number of projects in renewable energy. It also works on the Public Private Partnership initiative to create and promote the special development zones in Jordan, particularly in border areas.

The minister also participated with other members of Jordanian delegation, including Minister of Finance Omar Malhas and Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan Ziad Fariz in different sessions of meetings that discussed development challenges facing the Arab region and presented national reform efforts, including the Jordan 2025 Vision and the Executive Development Programme for 2016 – 2018. 

Also on the sidelines of the joint annual meetings in Manama, Malhas and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Obeid Al Tayer signed an agreement to avert dual taxation between the Kingdom and the UAE, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported Wednesday.

Malhas said the agreement would increase Jordanian-UAE cooperation in all sectors and would boost investment activities between both countries, raise the commercial exchange volume and enhance financial and economic cooperation. 

 

Fakhoury attended the signing ceremony of the agreement.

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