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Jordan should ‘seek post-war reconstruction opportunities’ in neighbouring countries

By Laila Azzeh - Mar 23,2017 - Last updated at Mar 23,2017

AMMAN – Jordan’s engineering and construction sectors should be prepared to take part in post-conflict reconstruction efforts in neighbouring countries, experts agreed on Thursday. 

Gathered at a workshop based on Jordan’s Vision 2025, experts underlined the need for clear strategies to build “dynamic and high quality” construction, engineering and housing (CEH) sectors, in order for Jordan to become an effective partner in the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria,  

The one-day workshop, titled “Jordan Construction Sector Workshop”, brought together representatives of top international construction companies and development players, along with other partners who seek to play an active role in addressing the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Jordan. 

Held in cooperation between Jordan Investment Commission (JIC), the World Bank Group, and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the gathering offered a platform for discussions on issues related to the post-conflict reconstruction and its potentials in the region. Talks focused especially on Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and on the ways the Kingdom can provide help by transforming its CEH cluster. 

“Sooner or later, the reconstruction in Iraq and Syria will start, and there will be an enormous opportunity for Jordan to contribute,” said British Ambassador to Jordan Edward Oakden, stressing the need for Jordan to be ready for such efforts. 

Public Works and Housing Minister Sami Halaseh underlined the government’s commitment to maintain the competitiveness of the construction sector, and to ensure its ability to penetrate Arab markets. 

Thabet Elwir, JIC chief, noted that efforts are under way to revisit all legislation related to the integration of Jordanian and Syrian workers in the post-war reconstruction process, through training and by partnering with international organisations. 

Discussions also covered issues related to construction, the need to develop its financing and licensing operations to develop “reconstruction corridors” from Jordan to both Syria and Iraq, and the enhancement of networks between Jordanian contractors and their Iraqi and Syrian counterparts.

According to the WB, the severity of the challenges related to refugees pushed Jordan and the international community to work together in setting a holistic approach that would help support both Syrian refugees and the Jordanian host communities.   

The parameters of the response were defined in the “Jordan Compact”, which was adopted in London in 2016. 

The World Bank led the preparation of a “Programme for Results” project, focused on improving economic opportunities for Jordanians and Syrian refugees as a direct response to the call for designing programmes that translate the Jordan Compact into action.

The international community’s commitment to the programme amounted to $300 million, delivered through the Concessional Financing Facility. 

 

The project seeks to provide economic opportunities for Jordanians and Syrians by reforming Jordan’s labour market, improving the local investment environment, and attracting as well as retaining investments, especially in special economic zones.  

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