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London initiative ‘one stop’ on Jordan’s agenda to boost economy

'Kingdom will not come back with billions from London, but will show we are on right path'

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 19,2019 - Last updated at Feb 19,2019

AMMAN — The London initiative, an international conference to unlock investment, growth and jobs for Jordan slated for February 28th, is part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to boost self-reliance that seeks to highlight Jordan’s reforms and its lucrative investment climate, officials said on Tuesday.

The conference, co-hosted by the UK and Jordanian governments, is part of activities implemented by the Kingdom to boost exports, attract investments and open new doors and opportunities to create jobs and drive economic growth, while stressing Jordan’s commitment to reform, the officials added.

“The London initiative is one stop in Jordan’s efforts to boost the economy… we will present to the world what we have done and what we will do… the government will not come back with billions from London, but we will show how Jordan is attractive for investments and that we are on the right path,” Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat told reporters on Tuesday.

Jordanian officials taking part in the event, which will be attended by 450 participants from 60 countries, including private and public sector representatives, Arab and foreign investment funds and international organisations, will present Jordan’s efforts to reduce public debt, drive economic growth, attract investments, boost exports and reduce energy costs, with the ultimate objective of creating new opportunities and boosting self-reliance.

The Kingdom will present a mid-term plan detailing reforms ahead and efforts to reduce public debt, increase the competiveness of Jordanian exports, reform the labour market, reduce costs and showcase efforts that are either completed or in the pipeline to help ensure a sustainable economy, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mary Kawar said during Tuesday’s press conference. 

Jordan will highlight its efforts and plans for reducing the public debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product, which stands at 94 per cent.

“There can be no growth without reducing the public debt… we will present our strategy to fulfill this objective… we will focus on receiving grants or soft loans to help us in this regard,” said Kawar.

Minister of State for Investment Affairs Muhannad Shehadeh stressed that the conference will be about Jordan and for Jordan.

“This is not an economic event or one for investments only and it is not only about asking for aid, but it is also meant to restore confidence in the Jordanian economy and to highlight its potential,” Shehadeh said on Tuesday, adding that 25 per cent of Jordan’s debt is due to the cut in natural gas supplies from Egypt.

“We will highlight to the world our capabilities and areas with potential for investments,” he said.

The London initiative is only the beginning, Tariq Hammouri, minister of industry, trade and supply, said during the presser.

“We need growth, and one of the key factors to drive growth is increasing exports. We have reached a deal on the EU rules of origin and several agreements with Iraq, and more measures will be announced at a later stage that will help boost exports,” said Hammouri.

Projects in several sectors whose feasibility was thoroughly studied will be discussed during the event, said the minister.

Jordan will highlight during the event, its capabilities in the services, tourism, medical tourism and energy sectors, among other fields. 

“London is one stop in our efforts and it will be followed by the WEF and several other activities to highlight Jordan’s potential,” said Shehadeh.

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