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Japan ‘eager’ to continue support for Jordan as challenges mount

By JT - Dec 13,2015 - Last updated at Dec 13,2015

AMMAN — Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury has concluded a working visit to Tokyo, which took place December 10-12. 

During the visit, Fakhoury held meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoji Muto.

He also met with senior officials from Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan External Trade Organisation and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, along with high-ranking officials from the ministry of foreign affairs in charge of the Japanese foreign assistance to the region, including Jordan, among others, according to a ministry statement.

Fakhoury, who thanked Japan for its continued support for Jordan, updated the Japanese officials on recent political and economic reforms, the country’s new 10-year socio-economic vision, dubbed Jordan 2025, and the Executive Development Programme 2016-2018, highlighting in his talks the continued impact of regional crises on Jordan, especially the Syrian refugee influx and priorities recently launched under Jordan Response Plan 2016-2018. 

In this regard, the minister underlined the “holistic approach in handling the consequences of Syrian refugee crisis”.

According to the statement, this approach involves potential programmes that enable Jordan to endure the impact of hosting such an influx of refugees and to receive assistance in the form of grants and concessional funding instruments.

It also aims to attract investments that generate job opportunities and create employment projects in hosting communities affected by Syrian refugees, in cooperation with the UK and the World Bank.

The ministry said that the Japanese side is processing a new grant for host communities in the amount of $12.4 million to support the water and municipal services sectors, adding that an agreement governing it will be signed early 2016.

Moreover, Fakhoury discussed with Japanese officials a new assistance package for 2016 including the possibility of extending budget support assistance as well as new grants directed for implementing development projects, the ministry said.

Furthermore, the minister held meetings with top executives at two Japanese private sector companies, Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsui & Co., which have been operating in Jordan for many years and implementing key projects in the electricity, renewable energy and water sectors, in addition to investment in the potash and phosphate industries. 

Fakhoury provided an update on the investment and business climate in Jordan and new business-related legislation, in addition to providing an overview on new investment opportunities in Jordan launched earlier this year in the electricity, renewable energy (wind and solar), transport, water (Red Sea-Dead Sea Water  Conveyance Project), infrastructure, tourism and ICT, which, he told his hosts, Jordan is keen on implementing through public-private partnerships.

According to the ministry, the Japanese officials underlined the need to continue supporting Jordan to help it “maintain its economic resilience at these difficult times” and enable it to address challenges ensuing from the Syrian refugees crisis.

 

Since 1999, Japan has extended to Jordan over $1 billion in the form of financial assistance, of which $474.7 million was in the form of projects and budget support grants, and $530.4 million as concessional loans for budget support and development projects.

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