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Jordan’s economic success ‘a sign of ongoing strengths’ — King

By JT - May 23,2015 - Last updated at May 23,2015

His Majesty King Abdullah addresses the plenary session of the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea on Friday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

DEAD SEA — Jordan's economy has continued to grow despite the surrounding challenges, which is "a sign of ongoing strengths", His Majesty King Abdullah said on Friday.

The national economy grew by more than 3 per cent last year and is expected to grow at close to 4 per cent over this year, the King said at the opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa (see full speech).

“This is more than a track record of surmounting challenges… It is a sign of ongoing strengths. This is also the message of our ongoing reform process. We view this process as a continuous path forward,” His Majesty told an audience of more than 1,000 participants from over 60 countries, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Her Majesty Queen Rania and HRH Crown Prince Hussein also attended the opening session, and joined His Majesty at a special session on Jordan titled “Jordan Relaunched: Advancing Growth and Development”, during which officials proposed for potential investors projects worth $20 billion in seven key sectors.

The investment opportunities are in the sectors of energy, transport, urban development, water, infrastructure, tourism and ICT.

The seven sectors represent the investment priorities for the Kingdom set to achieve economic and social prosperity. 

At the session, major investors in Jordan and experts described the Kingdom as a promising investment hub despite turmoil in the region. 

They highlighted the Kingdom's stability, political leadership, business environment and human resources as the key prosperous investments that could generate higher growth rates.

Later, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and Cabinet members announced that deals worth $8.5 billion were signed on the sidelines of the forum. 

A total of 19 agreements were signed, said the premier at a press conference following the signing of the deals, adding that there are other projects that have not been announced at the forum, because they have not reached the final stages yet, pointing out that the agreements signed have to do with "realistic" projects.  

King Abdullah met on the sidelines of WEF with country presidents, and political and UN leaders who are participating in the event.

King Abdullah met separately with President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga, Abbas, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi, Moroccan Prime Minister Abdel Ilah Benkirane and Lower House Speaker Rachid Talbi Alami, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, UN Special Representative in Libya Bernardino León and Taro Kono, member of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party and the house of representatives. 

In his remarks at a session held Friday, Sisi said “the people of the region know more about the nature of their problems” than those from outside with preconceived notions.

He said views “from outside” cannot successfully pinpoint the region’s nature and problems.

He explained that a lack of justice and equal opportunity, poverty and unemployment fuel terrorism and radicalism, and the region cannot enjoy security and stability without investing in young people.

For his part, Abbas rejected in a speech the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders, calling the proposal “totally unacceptable”. 

The establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital is an “irreversible” Palestinian quest.

Meanwhile, the Schwab Foundation on Friday recognised three social entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa as 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year awardees for MENA. 

At a ceremony at the Dead Sea, Hilde Schwab, co-founder and chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, honoured the winners at the WEF meeting’s plenary session in the presence of Their Majesties and the Crown Prince.

 

World leaders and other distinguished guests from the MENA region and beyond were also present, according to a WEF statement.

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