Jordan’s new investment ministry ready for foreign affairs, UK minister says

Jordan is open and ready for foreign business and investment, the kingdom’s investment minister said at a ministerial roundtable in London on Monday.

Speaking at the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, Kheiry Amr said Jordan had focused on the reforms needed to allow greater investment in the country.

“Jordan’s stability and strategic location in the region have been enhanced by sound economic policies,” Amr said.

The Ministry of Investment was created in October 2021 to accelerate foreign investment and increase competitiveness.

It replaced the former Jordanian Investment Commission and has a “significantly expanded role”, Amr said.

Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Jordan reached £561m ($777.4m) in 2020, but a new UK-Jordan Association Agreement, which entered into force in May 2021, should lead to a substantial increase in this figure.

The new trade agreement preserves preferential trade for Jordanian and British businesses and consumers, while boosting trade and investment between the two countries.

As the main trade policy-making body, the Ministry of Investment is working to update the country’s regulatory laws and strengthen the partnership between the public and private sectors, Amr said.

“We are in a highly competitive region,” he added. “Some of our neighbors have the advantage of market size while others, like the GCC, have significant resources, so we need to work hard on partnerships and use our unique geographic location.”

Amr said the country’s position offers many opportunities for “strong regional integration” and identified six key sectors for investment, including life sciences, tourism, logistics, IT information, agriculture and health care.

Hikma, a Jordan-founded and UK-based multinational pharmaceutical company, is one of the largest generic drug suppliers in the US and the Mena region and is listed on the FTSE 250.

A large pool of talented human resources, coupled with a strong existing infrastructure, makes the Jordanian IT sector a particularly attractive investment area, the minister said.

Examples of the country’s technopreneurship include BitOasis by Jordanian “Bitcoin pioneer” Ola Doudin – one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to be set up in the United Arab Emirates – and AYMBot, an algorithmic Bitcoin trading robot fully automated which was developed in Jordan and launched earlier this month.

Last year, a group of Jordanian entrepreneurs established the Aqaba Digital Hub to meet the growing demand for digital transformation in Jordan and the region. The hub includes everything from a mega data center and internet exchange point to cloud platforms and fiber networks.

Updated: May 23, 2022, 2:55 p.m.

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