Washington D.C., June 19, 2001—The International
Finance Corporation will help to promote regional development and peace
in the Middle East by lending US$10 million to support an industrial estate
on the Jordanian side of the Jordan-Israel border.
The $35 million Jordan Gateway Projects Llc.—sponsored by Safra, a global
banking and finance group operating in North and South America, Europe,
and the Middle East, in partnership with a group of prominent Jordanian
businessmen—will develop, construct, and operate a 65-hectare industrial
Jordan Gateway Projects Llc., the first Jordanian-Israeli joint venture
of this scale, will help to create about 15,000 skilled and semi-skilled
jobs in Jordan; provide for transfer of new technology and improve utilization
of the country’s skilled and educated workforce; attract foreign investment
and stimulate development of export-oriented industries; and broaden the
Jordan River Valley’s economic base. Overall, it will complement
the government’s planned development of the Jordan River Valley. IFC
expects the project to have a significant economic impact in a part of
the country that is in urgent need of sustainable development initiatives.
The project is located in the first industrial estate in Jordan which has
both Qualifying Industrial Zone status and Free Zone status. The
Qualifying Industrial Zone status will provide companies with quota-free
and duty-free access to the U.S. market. The Free Zone status provides
a 12-year tax holiday and other incentives for tenant companies. The
Jordan Gateway industrial estate has a unique border location including
a dedicated bridge connecting the Jordanian and Israeli sides of the estate.
IFC’s participation will ensure that the project is implemented according
to stringent environmental and social standards of IFC and the World Bank
Group. The project structure and implementation have taken into account
the advice of IFC’s Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman as well as the input
of various stakeholders with whom IFC has carried out an extensive dialogue
over the past year. These stakeholders include a number of civil
society organizations in both Jordan and Israel.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable
private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty
and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments
in emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.