The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)  on Monday officially launched its operations in Jordan by opening a permanent office in Amman.
Planning and International Cooperation Minister Jafar Hassan and Hildegard Gacek, EBRD’s managing director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, signed an agreement that allows the bank to set up a permanent representation in the Kingdom .
Heike Harmgart has been appointed as head of EBRD’s office in Amman.
Hassan told reporters following the signing that setting up an office for the European bank in Jordan is an important step as it will enable the bank to invest in key sectors such as energy, railways, finance and development projects in governorates.
He said EBRD, which has allocated a total of 1 billion euros for its operations in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, is considering to raise the funds to 2.5 billion euros, indicating that 80 per cent of the bank’s operations are directed to the private sector.
Hassan added that financing solutions for public-private partnership schemes are among EBRD’s priorities in Jordan.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a long-term cooperation between the bank and Jordan. The permanent representation will play a key role in the implementation of the EBRD’s projects,” Gacek said.
Late last year, the EBRD offered a $100- million loan for the construction and development of the Manakher Power Plant, some 15 kilometres east of Amman.
Gacek said the plant was the bank’s first energy investment in the region.
The EBRD began investing in Jordan in September 2012, responding to calls from the international community that saw the development bank begin to extend its remit to four countries in the SEMED region, she added.
In Jordan, the bank will focus on supporting private companies, with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, restructuring and strengthening the financial sector, promoting energy efficiency and a sustainable energy sector, as well as facilitating non-sovereign financing for infrastructure, Gacek noted.
According to the EBRD, Harmgart was a senior economist at the bank with responsibility for Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan before her appointment as head of Jordan office.