Investment projects in Jordan grew by 71 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 1999 to reach a total value of more than $1 billion, a government report said Monday.
Investments in the kingdom grew to a total of $1.03 billion in the first three quarters of 2000, compared with $600 million during the same time in 1999, said the report, which did not factor in Jordan's free-trade zones.
Foreign firms, which the kingdom accords special tax breaks, accounted for 53 percent of the new investments this year, up from 38 percent in 1999.
Foreign capital was concentrated largely in the hotel, industrial and hospital sectors.
Rim Badran, the director of Jordan's Investment Promotion Authority, said the boost in capital was due to Jordan's joining of the World Trade Organization and its signing of investment protection agreements with several countries.
She said investments would continue to grow following the October 24 signing of a wide-ranging free-trade agreement between Jordan and the United States and with the expected opening at the beginning of next year of a special trade zone in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba.
But Badran, quoted by the official news agency Petra, admitted that Jordan still needed to work to eliminate certain "complications" that scare off potential investors.
Since he assumed the throne in February 1999, King Abdullah II has made the growth of investments one of his principal priorities to combat unemployment, which according to unofficial estimates touches at least 25 percent of the active population.
In a meeting Saturday with the Jordanian community in the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah noted that economics, not politics, now mattered more in the world.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)