EBRD, IFC, and CBoJ Inject $81M into Ayla Marina Village for Aqaba’s Tourism

Aqaba, July 1 (Petra) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Capital Bank of Jordan (CBoJ) have committed a $81 million financing package to support sustainable tourism in Jordan through the Ayla Marina Village development, a cornerstone of the Ayla Oasis regeneration plan.

Sahl Dudin, Managing Director of Ayla Oasis Development Company, welcomed the partnership, stating, “We are thrilled to renew and expand our collaboration with the EBRD, IFC, and CBoJ. This partnership reaffirms the trust these leading financial institutions place in Ayla and Aqaba’s commitment to sustainability and good governance. The investment will facilitate the construction of the Pulse hotel and further development of Ayla Marina Village, boosting Aqaba’s status as a prime tourist destination and generating substantial local employment and skills development opportunities.”

The multi-currency financing package comprises a $71 million loan equally provided by the EBRD and IFC, and a JD 7.1 million loan from CBoJ.

Ayla Marina Village is situated in Aqaba, Jordan’s sole coastal city and a prominent tourist hub. The area has significantly benefited from Ayla Oasis’s sustainable hospitality, retail, and entertainment facilities, sprawling over 4.3 million square meters of de-mined, former high-security land along the Red Sea’s western edge.

This new funding will enable Ayla Marina Village to construct the Pulse hotel, a sustainable 76-room establishment catering to both leisure and corporate markets. The building will achieve EDGE Green Building Certification, enhancing the destination’s overall value. Additionally, the financing will extend the maturities of existing loans.

Beyond financial support, the EBRD will provide a comprehensive technical cooperation package, funded by its Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Multi-Donor Account. This initiative will address critical skills shortages by introducing new work-based training programs for individuals entering the tourism and hospitality sectors, facilitating the transition from education to employment.

The training will be delivered through Ayla’s Makarem Training Academy, established with the EBRD’s support. Furthermore, the technical cooperation will aid in developing a new regulatory framework for work-based learning.

Jürgen Rigterink, EBRD First Vice President and Head of Client Services, signed the project in Aqaba, commenting, “We are delighted to partner with the IFC and CBoJ on this forward-thinking project and continue our decade-long collaboration with Ayla. The development of Ayla Marina Village is transforming Aqaba’s waterfront into a sustainable tourist destination, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”

Following the signing ceremony, Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, underscored the investment’s significance: “To foster sustainable growth in Jordan, it is essential to attract foreign investments and enhance the private sector’s job creation capacity, particularly for women and youth, in vital sectors like tourism. This financing will also strengthen the tourism industry’s resilience and the broader Jordanian economy during a crucial period.”

Tamer Ghazaleh, CEO of Capital Bank of Jordan, emphasized the project’s importance: “We are proud to support the Ayla Marina Village project, aligning with our commitment to sustainable development and economic growth in Jordan. This initiative elevates Aqaba’s appeal as a premier tourist destination, generates significant employment opportunities, and promotes local skills development. By collaborating with the EBRD and IFC, we are investing in a brighter, greener future for Aqaba and the nation.”

//Petra// AA
01/07/2024 13:05:51