Jordan's new Investment Ministry ready for foreign business, minister tells UK

Country has focused on necessary reforms to enable greater investment, Kheiry Amr says

H.E. Khairy Amr assumed the position of Minister of Investment in October 2021 and has been working to advance regulations and policies to make Jordan a more attractive country for businesses and public private partnerships. Photo: Ministry of Investment - Jordan/Twitter
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Jordan is open and ready for foreign businesses and investment, the kingdom’s minister of investment told a ministerial roundtable in London on Monday.

Speaking at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, Kheiry Amr said Jordan had focused on the necessary reforms to enable greater investment in the country.

“Jordan’s stability and strategic location in the region has been reinforced by sound economic policies,” said Mr Amr.

The Ministry of Investment was established in October 2021 as a way to accelerate inward investment and increase competitiveness.

It replaced the former Jordan Investment Commission and has a “significantly expanded role”, said Mr Amr.

The total trade of goods and services between the UK and Jordan reached £561 million ($777.4m) in 2020 but a new UK-Jordan Association Agreement, which came into effect in May 2021, is expected to lead to that figure rising substantially.

The new trade agreement preserves preferential trade for Jordanian and British businesses and consumers, while boosting commerce and investment between the two countries.

As the primary body in charge of business policymaking, the Ministry of Investment has been working on updating the country’s regulatory laws and strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors, said Mr Amr.

“We are in a highly competitive region,” he added. “Some of our neighbours have the advantage of market size while others, like the GCC, have significant resources, so we have to work hard on partnerships and using our unique geographic location.”

Mr Amr said the country’s position provided a lot of opportunities for “strong regional integration” and identified six key sectors for investment, which included life sciences, tourism, logistics, information technology, agriculture and health care.

Hikma, a multinational pharmaceutical company founded in Jordan and headquartered in the UK, is one of the largest suppliers of generic medicines to the US and the Mena and is listed in the FTSE 250.

A talented and large human resource pool coupled with strong existing infrastructure makes Jordan's IT sector a particularly attractive area for investment, the minister said.

Examples of the country's technopreneurship include Jordanian “Bitcoin pioneer” Ola Doudin's BitOasis — one of the earliest cryptocurrency exchanges to be set up in the UAE — and AYMBot, a fully automated, algorithmic Bitcoin-trading bot that was developed in Jordan and launched earlier this month.

Last year, a group of Jordanian entrepreneurs set up the Aqaba Digital Hub to tap into the growing demand for digital transformation in Jordan and the region. The Hub includes everything from a mega data centre and internet exchange point to cloud platforms and fibre networks.

Updated: May 23, 2022, 2:55 PM