We Are Far From Over!

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Tue 24 October / Oct 2017. 11:00 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman just launch a massive cross-continental investment project called NEOM in short, with endless economic possibilities, extending over some 26 thousand kilometres the north-eastern parts of Saudi Arabia.

NEOM is a special investment area on the coasts of the Red Sea and the Aqaba Gulf, which spans into Jordanian and Egyptian territories, at an overall worth of USD 500 billion.

The details of the project are indeed fascinating, and it will surely change the face of the entire region, Saudi more so, if it were really to be executed.

Jordan already knew about it.

Yesterday, a government official welcomed the project. But the nature of Jordan’s contribution or share in the NEOM project remains unclear.

Not long ago, both Jordan and Saudi signed a joint investment fund, in accordance to a special legislation passed in the parliament’s last term.

Since then, the Fund has seen very little movement, especially in these last few months.

However, Aqaba had already been on the Fund’s projects under the Prime Minister, who was supposed to be appointed chairman.

It is likely that Jordan’s share in NEOM is part of the joint investment venture entailed by the investment fund agreement.

Still, it would help if more information would be made available to the public, to cut the path for rumours.

For instance, it would be of value to explain legal framework of the project, its location, area, and the very nature of the ventures to be focused there, not to mention the estimated time of delivery for our parts here in Jordan.

Technically, NEOM presents the private sector in Jordan with an unprecedented to compete on all levels of the project, instead of only in Aqaba. We have the expertise and qualifications for it.

Meanwhile, it is crucial that the government ensures Jordanians jobs in our parts of NEOM, at least, during and after execution.

A project of this scale requires thousands of workers, and it is vital to start preparing and building our workforce’s capacities ahead of NEOM’s launch!

Regionally, NEOM is our most promising and most economically significant window, as our siege to the east and to the north, soon enough, is about to end, with the prospects of stability in the future.

As for the time being, this gateway to the south could revitalise tourism and the entire economy with investments in the near horizon.

In the north, the situation with Syria will soon embark on a new phase, and with it a vast reconstruction movement, as well as markets we had lost some seven years ago!

To the east, the border has already been reopened, and commerce is picking up pace between Jordan and Iraq, while political ties grow on a far greater pace.

Naturally, our good relationship with Baghdad will only help expedite the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline and the construction of the free trade zone.

Soon too, Jordanian companies will get invested the reconstruction of the cities and towns that have been destroyed in the war.

Whoever says that Jordan’s part in the region is over should take another good look!

Jordan’s part is far from over!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

Comment