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Kingdom welcomes Saudi Arabia’s investment zone plan

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 26,2017 - Last updated at Oct 26,2017

AMMAN — Jordan on Wednesday welcomed a $500 billion project by Saudi Arabia to develop a business and industrial zone linked with Jordan and Egypt.

“The project, which will connect Asia to Africa by creating a special zone stretching from Saudi Arabia’s borders to Jordan and Egypt, will strengthen the economies of the three countries, enhance trade and open new markets for their exports,” a government official told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

Jordan, which enjoys political stability and security, is capable of attracting investments and removing obstacles facing investors. Jordan is also home to highly qualified human resources in different areas and can share its expertise in the creation of such mega project that helps strengthen inter-Arab trade ties, the official said.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement came after a high-level coordination meeting where a series of economic agreements was signed between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, following a visit by King Salman of Saudi Arabia to Jordan in March which resulted in the establishment of a Jordanian-Saudi fund that would be handling up to $3 billion in investments, the official added.

The official said that Jordan is aware that the economic relationship with Saudi Arabia is turning into an investment-based formula built on Saudi Arabia’s economic vision for 2030, adding that this formula is strategic, vital and economically feasible in the long-run for the two countries.

The 26,500 zone, known as NEOM, to be powered entirely by renewable energy, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said, according to Reuters.

Adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba and near maritime trade routes that use the Suez Canal, the zone will serve as a gateway to the proposed King Salman Bridge, which will link Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the news agency cited a statement by the Public Investment
Fund as reading.

Saudi Arabia’s border with Jordan touches the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, near the Israeli city of Eilat. It also sits opposite to Egypt, across the Straits of Tiran.

“NEOM is situated on one of the world’s most prominent economic arteries ... Its strategic location will also facilitate the zone’s rapid emergence as a global hub that connects Asia, Europe and Africa,” PIF said according to Reuters.

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