(Jordan Times ) – The cabinet last week endorsed a $100 million Qualifying Industrial Zone project that will be carried out by the Jordan University for Science and Technology (JUST) and Boscan Jordan Group, a JUST senior official said on Thursday.
JUST president, Saad Hijazi told the Jordan Times that they "have completed the master plan for the IT-specialised QIZ which will serve as the silicon valley of Jordan."
Hijazi said that the QIZ will be constructed on a 4,000 dunum plot on campus and would have around 40,000 employees—mainly Jordanians."The QIZ will also help train JUST students and will also serve as a research and development center for JUST faculty," he said.
The QIZ, called CyberCity, is the world's first Information Technology park integrated with the Qualifying Industrial Zone and located within a Duty Free Zone park.
Asked why JUST was chosen for such a project, Hijazi said the university has the needed infrastructure: Human resources, suitable land, labs and a hospital. Hijazi added that the QIZ will be "great, along with the factories we will have a whole array of facilities."
To serve the needs of the investors in the CyberCity, a full range of commercial and service facilities will be provided: Technology incubators, insurance, man power recruitment, commercial offices, leisure and living facilities.
To attract the best talents in the world, CyberCity will develop a world class self-contained township: Five star hotel, golf courses, music halls, multimedia education centers, health and gym centers, recreational parks, entertainment centers, apartments and homes wired with the latest connectivity tools, banks, transportation and logistics, customer clearance and medical services.
Hijazi told the Jordan Times that the QIZ will attract local and foreign companies who will produce environmentally-friendly products as well as IT software and electronics. “Half of our specializations are technology-related and the QIZ will hire a lot of JUST graduates” he said.
Boscan International has a $120 million project in the Qualifing Industrial Zone in Irbid. The company will export around $80 million by year's end.
The United States proposed the concept of Qualifying Industrial Zones in President Clinton's Proclamation No. 6955 of November 1996. That proclamation extends duty free status to products of the Qualifying Industrial Zones in Jordan. The QIZ represents an unprecedented opportunity to gain duty free access to the US market without the requirement for any reciprocal benefits and is available only to Jordan.
JUST will open King Abdullah Hospital, a 200-bed teaching facility, in late fall. The hospital, which will offer medical services to residents of Irbid Governorate as well as patients from other parts of the world is also expected to serve as a regional research center.
The Boscan International, established in Jordan in 1998, complied with the QIZ agreement, which was signed in March 1998 between Jordan, Israel and the US. The company is a joint venture between Jordanian, American and Arab investors. The Boscan Hong Kong Group was established in Hong Kong 12 years ago and began its operations in the Kingdom last October with a pilot-project that recruited 250 workers, while today it employs over 6,000 workers.
By Oula Al Farawati
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )