Jordan and Saudi Arabia: Will the Objectives be Met? (2)

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 30 April / Apr 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The insight to the fact that sustainable comprehensive development in Jordan is unrealisable without foreign investment, falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s vision to divest and diversify the pillars of national Saudi economy, locally, regionally, and globally; as well as does the two countries initiative to inaugurate the Jordan-Saudi Coordination Council on all levels, including economic.

Overviewing the aspects of the expected Saudi investment, embosses its diversity; notwithstanding the coordinated investment in uranium with the Nuclear Energy Commission presided by Dr Khaled Touqan; as over the past period of time, two major advancements have been scored in this field, and the potential terms and spheres of investment in this discourse have been outlined. There are also serious studies on the scalable developments in tourism in Aqaba and elsewhere, next to cooperation in the fields of military manufacturing.

While the scale of the resources allocated for the joint investment fund remains so far  undisclosed, it is expected to be worth billions of dollars, diversified over a variety of projects with the added value of domestic labour and employment, for these enterprises to be evaluated on the basis of performance and achievement, not abstraction; the most key among performance indices being how this reflects on people and their lives.

Following the announcement of the “Coordination Council”, with the “Investment Fund” entailed, comes the government’s role in the conduction of what has been underway for months, through the legislation of the new born dynamic and its embedment in modernised legal accords on one hand, and the necessary prefacing and preparation nationally required to propose priority projects in a mechanism that guarantees the success of the initiative, in terms of rehabilitating the economy for its transitional reformation to expand and develop the private sector.

And this is where the great challenge lies; the governmental compass has been under the prolonged influence of misguided policies for so long, that so many opportunities have gone to waste!

Typically, the road is not paved, definitely, for a comfortable passage onwards; the Saudi and Jordanian leaderships face internal, local factors that actively seek to hinder the progress of their two countries unto more open and modern stages.

Accordingly, the most paramount of the many determinants of success, for Jordan particularly —closely bound to official governmental commitment to vision—are those comprised in the creation and provision of human qualifications committed and dedicated to allocating and growing investment, in the stead of driving it away, with extensive bureaucracy and other governmental obstacles; especially since the success in terms of the partnership with Saudi Arabia, encompassing to other Gulf countries, will probably influence other sovereignty funds to invest in Jordan.

Notably, some, in Jordan, may be unhappy with recent developments; maybe because of Dr Bassem Awadallah’s controversial persona, since he made a lot of rivals and enemies while in a variety of official capacities; albeit bickering or for the right reasons, leading him off the domestic stage. But Awadallah returns today, with the conviction he is serving Jordan’s interests in the ways he knows best; through realistic achievements that would relief the Country a considerable portion of its economic problems, putting himself up —again; to a difficult domestic trial.

All in all, with the central question answered: “Are there Saudi prerequisites and conditions to pursuing this relationship?”, the vital question for Jordan, responsibly, would be; “Do we succeed in accommodating and meeting the terms and conditions to success in this new partnership with our Saudi brethren; so that we may reap its benefits? Subsequently, and more importantly; will we witness a Jordanian economic transformation in the midst of all this popular doubt in its success and distrust? And will the question, over the years, regarding our relationship with Saudi Arabia change to How much did Saudi invest in Jordan, instead of How much aid are we receiving from Saudi Arabia, the way it is now?

Bottom line is; institutionalisation of the new dynamic and its mechanisms is as paramount as is the execution of proposed plans and schemes, but with the full realisation that reaping the fruits of this will not be for a relatively long time. Until then, will Jordan sustain its suffocating financial crisis, resulting off the influx of refugees and the lockdown of north and eastern borders?