IFC and Dutch-Backed Textile Sector-Targeting Project Launched

Amman, May 15 (Petra) – Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply Yousef Shamali outlined Jordan’s strategic vision to position itself as a regional hub for the textile industry, citing its pivotal role and distinctive strengths within the Kingdom.

Speaking at the launch event of an International Finance Corporation (IFC) initiative for the textile sector in Jordan on Wednesday, Shamali underscored the project’s significance as part of a broader agenda aimed at propelling various industrial, commercial, and service sectors forward, particularly those that have demonstrated leadership in recent years.

He reiterated the economic modernization agenda, initiated under royal auspices, which places significant emphasis on the textile industry due to its substantial value and the growing opportunities it presents for local employment, investment attraction, and heightened productivity and cost competitiveness.

Furthermore, the vision seeks to fully harness the potential of Jordan’s knitwear industry, which accounted for 1.4 billion dinars in exports last year, constituting over 18 percent of total national exports and employing 76,000 workers, both male and female.

Shamali contextualized the economic landscape within which the textile sector support project in Jordan will unfold, noting the sector’s potential for further development through increased investment, production, and export activities.

He emphasized the importance of the partnership with the IFC, renowned for its support of numerous economic and developmental projects in the Kingdom, while also acknowledging the contribution of the friendly government of the Netherlands to the project’s financing.

In a concerted effort toward comprehensive economic modernization, Shamali highlighted the array of legislative and enabling mechanisms aimed at fostering growth in industries like textiles and attracting investments.

Notably, he referenced the launch of the Industry Support and Development Fund’s second phase in April this year, inviting industrial establishments to leverage the Fund’s programs to enhance competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Investment Minister Kholoud Saqqaf underscored Jordan’s resilience in maintaining stability and growth amid regional and global challenges, despite numerous hurdles in the region.

She cited the recent upgrade of Jordan’s long-term sovereign credit rating after 21 years, attributing it to effective economic and financial policies and progress in implementing the initiatives outlined in Jordan’s economic modernization vision 2033.

Saqqaf emphasized Jordan’s status as an attractive and secure investment destination, bolstered by favorable legislation, numerous free trade agreements, and investment opportunities across various priority sectors such as ICT, textiles, tourism, medical tourism, and healthcare.

Aligned with the objectives of the Economic Modernization Vision 2033, Saqqaf highlighted the aim to achieve an annual economic growth rate of 5.6 percent, generate one million new job opportunities, cultivate a conducive business environment, and attract investments across sectors, including knitwear.

Despite significant progress in recent years driven by investments and government support, Saqqaf noted untapped potential in the textile sector, offering substantial opportunities for investors to leverage regional and international free trade agreements concluded by Jordan.

Saqqaf also outlined the Ministry’s key achievements aimed at enhancing the business and investment climate, including the issuance of the Investment Environment Law, the approval of the general investment policy, the enactment of the public-private partnership law, and the launch of the investment promotion platform “Invest in Jordan,” featuring 36 investment opportunities worth up to JD1.4 billion.

Additionally, the completion of comprehensive electronic investment services automation was highlighted, alongside the preparation of 17 introductory files for investment economic sectors.

For his part, Fathi Jaghbir, the head of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, expressed gratitude to the Jordanian government, the IFC, the Dutch government, and all stakeholders dedicated to enhancing the Kingdom’s industrial landscape and paving the way for future production endeavors.

Jaghbir emphasized that expanding the production base entails providing and showcasing all available opportunities to bolster vertical and horizontal value chains. These efforts, he noted, support numerous industries by ensuring access to essential raw materials sourced locally, thereby optimizing production processes.

Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, the Regional Director of the IFC for the Middle East, underscored the pivotal role of Jordan’s textile sector in generating employment opportunities, boosting Jordanian exports, and advancing the economic modernization vision’s objectives.

Ahmed highlighted the IFC’s commitment to leveraging its global expertise to unlock the vast potential of the knitwear sector, creating new employment prospects and fostering sustainable economic growth through constructive collaboration with the Jordan Chamber of Industry and the Jordanian government.

He emphasized the significance of the economic modernization vision and its inclusive initiatives aimed at bolstering Jordan’s knitwear sector through investment attraction and job creation.

Ambassador Harry Verweij of the Kingdom of the Netherlands emphasized his country’s steadfast partnership with Jordan, closely collaborating with the government and other stakeholders to advance the objectives of its economic modernization vision and support efforts to empower small and medium enterprises.

Verweij underscored the Netherlands’ commitment to private sector development, highlighting its support for the textile sector as a means to bolster Jordan’s economy, enhance youth employment, and assist vulnerable groups.

Recognizing the pivotal role of Jordan’s textile industry in driving economic growth, job creation, and investment attraction, Verweij stressed the importance of employing innovative approaches to boost exports and prioritize environmentally friendly products.

The IFC’s textile sector project in Jordan aims to facilitate new and expanded investments in the industry, boost export volumes, and create employment opportunities. It encompasses a comprehensive approach, including sector analysis, investment climate enhancements through targeted reforms, identification of strategic investment prospects, and attraction of new investments.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, a pivotal agreement was inked between the Jordan Chamber of Industry and the IFC to commence project implementation.

//Petra// AA
15/05/2024 14:08:16