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French Version

Jordan supports Palestine’s investment conference

Minister of Industry and Trade Sharif Zu’bi said Sunday that the “Palestinian Development and Investment Conference” (PDIC) set to be held next April in Bethlehem, Gaza and Jerusalem respectively, will be a crucial platform for investment in Palestine.

Zu’bi’s comments came during the forum titled “A Look Up on the Palestinian Development and Investment Conference” at the Four Seasons Hotel, Amman.

The forum was attended by Palestinian Minister of National Economy Mazen T. Sinnukrot; Secretary General of the PDIC; and a number of businessmen and officials from Jordan and Palestine. Zu’bi stressed, “The development projects are vital for the improvement of both the economy and the living standards in Palestine. The presence of a strong Palestinian economy alongside the Jordanian economy can only be beneficial to Jordan as well as Palestine.

While Jordan has always been a gateway to the Palestinian products to the Arab markets, we consider Palestine a natural expansion region for our market. “We are looking forward to create a solid joint investment platform between both Palestinian and Jordanian private sectors in order to contribute to the well being and development of the Palestinian eonomy,” Zu’bi noted. The Jordanian minister called upon Jordanian businessmen to look towards the Palestinian private sector as partners and to effectively contribute and participate in the upcoming event in Gaza and Bethlehem. Speaking at the forum, Sinnukrot said: “We chose the Hashemite Kingdom as the part of the Arabian promotional road show, which aims at acquiring potential partners for investment and promoting the conference at the same time.

This economic initiative is strongly supported by the Quartet committee, which is represented by the US, the EU,the Russian Federation and the UN, as well as by Quartet committee representative James Wolfensohn, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Arab League and other entities from the private sector.” The conference supports the continuing efforts being made to implement democratic reforms, such as transparency, accountability and good governance, which are being led by the Palestinian government and the private sector.

The Palestinian minister highlighted the fact that the Palestinian government has developed solid international standards for financial and economic legislation and regulation in order to showcase investment opportunities. “Palestine has signed several trade agreements with its Arab partners, for customs duty exemptions. This is in addition to the free trade agreement with the US, Canada, EU, and a preferential agreement with China,” said Sinnukrot. Sinnukrot noted that the private sector led by Ernst & Young have prepared strategic projects representing approximately $5 billion to be presented during PDIC.

The investment projects are in several developing economic sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry, transportation, housing, and IT. He also called upon Arab states to back investment in Palestine, which is essential to provide Palestinians with better infrastructure, decrease the level of poverty and place the Palestinian economy in the international sphere. Sinnukrot said: “We will provide a number of political and financial guarantees to those willing to invest in Palestine. We are planning to set up a $250 million Investment Security Fund for 2006 as insurance against any possible political action. The fund will be established by a number of entities including OPEC, World Bank, Islamic Investment Bank, German Investment Bank, European Investment Bank, and Palestinian Investment Fund.” He also pointed that there will be a program dedicated to privatizing several industries such as cement manufacturing, the petroleum industry, ports, airports, and checkpoints management in order to follow the directions of the government.

The program includes the offering of public and Waqf land mortgages with exceptional offers for the sale, rent, or auction of projects in the housing, tourism and agriculture, and industrial sectors. “Despite the obstacles we are facing within the Palestinian territories—one of which is that the Palestinian economy has been largely dependent on the Israeli economy, several local companies engaged in services, manufacturing, and trade have been successful. These companies have shown that Palestine is ready for development projects and investments,” he added. The main sponsors for the upcoming events include: Padico, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Arab Bank, Palestinian Investment Fund, Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC), Arab Islamic Bank (AIB), and PalTel Group.

Amman,13February2006
Redaction
The Star


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