Qatar, other GCC members to support Jordan development projects

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Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan speaks at the second meeting of the Arab Planning Institute's board of trustees. Photo - Petra

Qatar announced it will fund infrastructure projects worth $1.25 billion in Jordan by contributing to the $5 billion Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which was allocated during last year’s summit to support development projects in the Hashemite Kingdom.

According to official Jordanian news agency Petra, Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan met Qatari government officials in Doha during a state visit and discussed investment projects related to energy, health, transport, public works and railway projects.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar said they will extend $5 billion over a five-year period to support development schemes in Jordan. Each GCC nation will pay $1.25 billion.

“Qatar has shown interest in supporting projects in the field of energy, health and transport,” said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan.

The Jordanian official also noted on the sidelines of the opening of the second meeting of the Arab Planning Institute’s (API) board of trustees that Qatar has promised to support “projects of priority” in Jordan and those listed in the state budget.

“Among projects Qatar is keen to support is the gas storage terminal scheme,” Hassan announced, adding that most of these projects will be funded through grants that enable the public sector, including local and foreign investors, to invest in these ventures.

The Jordanian minister also hoped that the cabinet will endorse the GCC funding projects.

Jordan has set aside funds worth JD400 million ($564.49m) for priority development projects in the 2012 budget, including renewable energy, health and education.

The API is a non-profit regional organisation whose primary mission is to advance economic and social development in Arab countries through training, research, consultancy, expert exchange and publications.

Addressing the API meeting, Hassan said the aftermath of the global financial crisis requires developing programmes to improve democracy and good governance that could engage the society in formulating its economic and political future to ensure political security.

Analysts believe many Middle Eastern countries are going through a state of political and economic insecurity which has been caused by growing unemployment and poverty, along with inflation, lack of food security and dwindling energy resources.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs Fadhel Safar Ali Safar said the API 2012/13 plan, reflected an “understanding of the development challenges and risks facing the Arab world, which we should learn from”.

“The first periodical report on development in the Arab world will be published this year [2012/13]. The board has decided to issue this report as an alternative to the Arab competitiveness report…,” Safar, who is also chairman of the API board, underlined.

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