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Mega Projects: A Journey of economic transformation in Jordan

Jan 27,2024 - Last updated at Jan 27,2024

There is a significant consensus among various entities that the economy of Jordan is in great need of major projects.

If a large number of mega projects are implemented, they will play a crucial role in the economic development of Jordan, ushering the country into a major economic, social and cultural transformation journey. They will work towards enhancing the country’s infrastructure, attracting foreign investments, driving economic growth, enhancing connectivity, increasing productivity and fostering innovation. All of this is because major projects are one of the drivers of sustainable development across various sectors such as transportation, energy, tourism and urban development. Additionally, they contribute to job creation, skills development, and knowledge transfer, supporting local communities and enhancing social and economic progress.

What gives great optimism is that according to the economic reform plan, a large number of mega projects and public-private partnership projects with a value exceeding JD10 billion will be implemented. Mega projects in Jordan cover a diverse range of sectors, each contributing to economic diversification and enhancing the resilience of the Jordanian economy.

The Executive Programme for the Economic Modernisation Vision includes a number of mega projects, including the National Carrier project, a national railway network, with the first phase being the Aqaba-Amman railway, costing JD1.9 billion, and the project to connect Jordan’s electricity to Iraq worth JD30 million, and the project to connect Jordan’s electricity to Saudi Arabia worth JD39 million, in addition to increasing the electricity transmission capacity between Jordan and Egypt to 1,100 megawatts, establishing 15 schools in partnership with the private sector worth JD46 million, a rapid bus transit project between Amman and Zarqa worth JD140 million, constructing buildings and yards for cargo and passenger transportation at the new King Hussein Bridge worth JD225 million, and developing and rehabilitating the Aqaba Container Port worth JD300 million, in addition to toll roads projects costing JD40 million.

The National Water Carrier project, for example, will enable Jordan to address the expected water deficit in the coming years, in addition to opening up new prospects for enhancing water needs for various economic sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism, and others.

However, despite their potential benefits, mega projects in Jordan face many challenges, including regulatory and bureaucratic obstacles, financing constraints and geopolitical instability. It is also important to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective risk management to ensure the success of these projects, as well as integrating environmental sustainability and social inclusion into project planning and implementation to mitigate negative impacts and enhance their long-term sustainability. Naturally, the financing needs of major projects in Jordan require significant resources, necessitating a mix of public and private investments, in addition to international cooperation. While the government provides financing and regulatory support, private sector participation through public-private partnerships plays a major role in leveraging expertise, technology and capital. Furthermore, access to international financing mechanisms, such as international development banks and sovereign wealth funds, can help bridge financing gaps and mitigate financial risks associated with major projects.

Foreign direct investment plays a vital role in financing major projects and driving economic growth in Jordan, enhancing partnerships between local companies and foreign investors competitiveness, boosting exports, and enhancing economic integration within global value chains.

It is worth noting the commitments of the United States of America to provide financial support of $700 million for the National Water Carrier project, including about $300 million in grants and $400 million in the form of concessional investment loans, as well as commitments from some EU countries and institutions to provide grants worth $147 million in addition to development loans worth $522 million and concessional investment loans worth $461 million from Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain, in addition to the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Continued monitoring of the implementation of major projects in Jordan represents a transformative opportunity to unleash the country’s economic potentials and address developmental challenges. By embracing innovation, enhancing partnerships and efficiently utilising resources, Jordan can achieve its vision for a prosperous and sustainable future. With cooperation to overcome challenges and seize opportunities, major projects will continue to shape the economic landscape in Jordan for many years to come, driving growth and prosperity for future generations.

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