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Navigating investment and growth: A constructive evaluation

Aug 12,2023 - Last updated at Aug 12,2023

The recent seminar, titled "Insights to Empower Investment and Growth," hosted by the Jordanian Economic Forum, offered a valuable platform to delve into the nuances of Jordan's investment landscape. While Minister of InvestmentKhuloud Al-Saqaf, outlined several key elements and strategies aimed at enhancing investment, a balanced appraisal highlights areas of potential improvement while acknowledging the commendable efforts in progress.

Al-Saqaf's emphasis on four critical aspects, laws and regulations, incentives, exemptions, and a mechanism for complaints, reflects a thoughtful approach to nurturing an investor-friendly environment. These pillars undoubtedly form the backbone of any successful investment ecosystem. However, the real measure of success lies in translating these concepts into effective practices that empower both local and foreign investors.

The ministry's commitment to creating an institutional framework to regulate and facilitate investments, accompanied by a focus on maintaining equality and enabling the free transfer of capital and profits, signifies a dedication to creating an open and equitable business environment. It is now crucial to ensure that these intentions translate into transparent and streamlined processes, inspiring investor confidence and participation.

Al-Saqaf's emphasis on the significance of execution underscores a crucial point. A robust strategy is indeed vital, but its successful execution is what will drive tangible outcomes. The ministry's commitment to advancing full automation of the investment application process online reflects a progressive stride towards a more efficient investment environment. It is imperative, however, that this digital transformation aligns with modern standards of transparency, governance, and accessibility. This alignment will not only mitigate potential setbacks but also bolster investor confidence by showcasing a robust system that ensures fair and equal treatment, prevents favoritism, and promotes a level playing field for all stakeholders. Transparency in the online application process, coupled with a strong governance framework, will undoubtedly encourage greater investor participation and foster an environment where opportunities are accessible to all, ultimately contributing to a thriving investment landscape in Jordan.

The ministry's approach of aligning their promotion strategy with the 2022-2033 Economic Modernisation Vision is forward-looking and strategic. The ambitious goals of job creation, GDP growth, and attracting private sector investments are aspirational benchmarks that, if met, can significantly propel the nation's economic prosperity. To truly harness this potential, it is essential to closely monitor progress, regularly evaluate strategies, and adapt as needed to overcome potential challenges.

The provision of preliminary feasibility studies for the 21 projects listed on the ministry's platform is a commendable effort in fostering transparency. It would be beneficial to ensure that these projections are based on thorough and consistent methodologies, enabling potential investors to make well-informed decisions. Transparency in projections builds trust and contributes to a healthy investment climate.

The surge in investment during the first half of 2023 is anencouraging sign of increasing investor confidence. This boost, particularly from expanding existing investments, signifies the business community's growing faith in the stability and potential of Jordan's economy. Diversification across sectors is pivotal to mitigate risks and stimulate balanced growth; hence, the ministry's attention to the industrial, commerce, tourism, and other sectors is well-placed.

The emphasis on public-private partnerships (PPP) as a means of fostering economic development is a strategic move. Addressing the delays in implementing PPP projects by initiating the registration process through the Ministry of Planning showcases a proactive effort to streamline bureaucratic procedures. The real-world example of a delayed education sector project underscores the need for continuous improvement and process optimization to realize investments efficiently.

Celebrating successful partnership projects like the container port, Alkhrbeh Alsamra, and Queen Alia International Airport demonstrates the potential of collaborations between the public and private sectors. The acknowledgement of these successes, coupled with an understanding of their long-term impact, can guide future ventures toward sustainable outcomes.

In conclusion, the seminar served as a valuable opportunity to assess Jordan's investment landscape and the Ministry of Investment's strategies. Constructive critique shines a light on areas that warrant attention and improvement. By maintaining a balance between ambitious goals and pragmatic execution, Jordan can lay a solid foundation for sustained economic growth, ensuring that these efforts culminate in tangible benefits for the nation and its citizens.

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