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The EBRD launches operations in Jordan with a focus on trade and the energy sector

التاريخ: 
Mon, 05/13/2013

The EBRD officially launched operations in Jordan with the opening of a Resident Office in Amman on 18 February 2013. The Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperatlon, Jafar Hassan, and Hildegard Gacek, the EBRD's Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, signed a Host Country Agreement that marks the beginning of a longterm cooperation between the Bank and Jordan.

The EBRD started investment activities ln Jordan in 2012 by signing an agreement with Investbank, establishing a US$ 30 million (€23 million equivalent) trade finance facility that will help Jordanian companies to expand their international import and export activities. The second investment in Jordan was a US$ 100 million loan (€76 million equivalent) for the construction and development of the A1 Manakher power plant. Located 15 km east of the Jordanian capital Amman, the construction of the new plant will provide additional peak supply and in the medium term it will also help prepare the Jordanian electricity grid for greater use of renewable energy sources.

Both of these investments highlight important areas where the EBRD can play a crucial role in supporting the private sector and the Jordanian economy at large. Trade with its neighbours as well as the European Union, the United States and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is the backbone of the Jordanian economy. Having acceded to the WTO in 2000, Jordan has negotiated free-trade agreements with a number of countries, including the US and the EU, and has set up Special Economic Zones and Qualifying Industrial Zones to promote its offshore trade sector. A large part of these import and export activities is conducted by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that find access to finance is stlll one of the largest barriers to growth the EBRD plans to work with a number of financial institutions in Jordan to support the development of their SME business through trade finance facilities, capacity building and tailored SME finance and training.

As the second investment in Jordan highlighted, another key EBRD priority is aimed at addressing the country's acute energy shortages and ensuring the security of future energy supplies. This will be achieved through support for the energy and resource efficiency investments as well as fostering the development of renewable energy, especially as the economy remains very energy intensive and relies almost exclusively on imported fuels.

The Resident Office in Amman currently has seven staff with the intention of growing this to 12 by the end of 2013.

Heike Harmgart, Head of the EBRD's Resident Office in Amman.