EIB's first IT focused €15 million facility for Jordan
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, has arranged a €15 million facility to support the modernization and restructuring of the private sector, as well as further development of the financial sector in Jordan, a statement from the delegation of the European commission in Amman said on Sunday. This brings the total EU/EIB commitment to Jordan so far this year to €75 million, according to the statement.
The new private sector facility will also support Jordan's efforts to develop its IT industry. This is the first such EIB risk capital facility in the Mediterranean region that has included an IT focus.
The funds, made available under the new Euro-Mediterranean partnership mandate entrusted to the EIB over the period 2000-2006, are to build up the equity of private companies and investment funds, with a special focus on IT.
The first investment under the new facility has already taken shape. It is a direct EIB participation of €4.5 million ($4 million) in the Jordan hi-tech fund, which in turn will invest into equity of private companies in the IT sector, that have sound management and business plans. The fund is promoted by the Egyptian Financial Group (EFG)-Hermes.
The agreement on this first investment will be signed in Amman by EIB vice president Francis Mayer, who arrives in Jordan on October 8 at the head of a high level delegation including the director general of the Mediterranean division, Jean-Louis Biancarelli, and senior bank executives.
During his two-day visit, the vice president is scheduled to hold talks with King Abdullah, deputy prime minister, Saleh Irsheidat, and deputy prime minister, Mohammad Halaiqa, as well as the ministers of planning and finance, the statement said. Mayer will also visit the sites of the Arab Potash and Bromine manufacturing facilities, both of which are benefiting from substantial EIB support.
The new loans follow a €200,000 grant for e-commerce development in Jordan, signed last week by the European commission, the Amman chamber of industry and INT@J.
Complementing these efforts, the €42 million EUMEDIS project launched last year under the Euro-Mediterranean partnership is now under way. The project is designed to reduce the Mediterranean's technological gap with the EU and to help partners make the most of the new opportunities offered by the new economy.
EUMEDIS' focal points have been set up in the Mediterranean countries, including Jordan, with financing of €7 million, and a call for proposals worth €35 million has been issued. This will involve funding of regional pilot IT projects in five sectors of application: Information technologies in education, electronic commerce and economic cooperation, healthcare networks, multimedia access to cultural heritage and tourism, and information/communications technologies application in industry and innovation. — ( Jordan Times )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)