Furthermore, the forum focused on means of developing small and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East by finding new partners to expand their projects and by gaining access to funding through venture capital funds or banks.
Roundtables at the forum focused on the key issues of water, food security and production, solar and other renewable energies, and new information and communication technologies. More than 600 people attended the forum including ministers, economic leaders and some 250 international and Arab companies.
During a roundtable discussion focusing on new energy and its potential for the Middle East, JIB’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Samer Asfour presented the kingdom’s strategy that aspires to increase the contribution of renewable energy, oil shale and nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix to provide for the needs of Jordanians and achieve energy independency. Moreover, Mr. Asfour showcased the kingdom’s investment opportunities in the energy sector across cities and governorates in addition to advantages and incentives Jordan offers to investors.
Jordanian participants included the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation His Excellency Dr. Jafar Hassan, Minister of Water and Irrigation His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Najjar, and Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Mr. Saad Abu Hammour in addition to several representatives from the private sector.
Stressing on the importance of this event for Jordan, Mr. Samer Asfour said: “The Innovation Forum comes at a crucial time for the Middle East in light of the political and economic changes sweeping the region. JIB’s involvement in this high-level event is to underline the position of Jordan as a stable and safe haven for businesses looking to access the Middle East”. Mr. Asfour added: “We hope our participation will pave ways for future partnerships that will add value to the kingdom’s economy and cater to the needs of Jordanians”
The forum was inaugurated by the French Minister of Cooperation His Excellency Mr. Henri de Raincourt and French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing Her Excellency Mrs. Nathalie Kosciuko-Morizet. Mr. de Raincourt read a speech on behalf of the French President Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy welcoming the participants and reiterating his country’s commitment to support and assist the region
Major French and Middle Eastern companies taking part in the forum included Véolia Environment, GDF-Suez, and France Telecom. Institutional representatives included the European Investment Bank, the National Federation of Agricultural Workers’ Unions, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, and the French Development Agency.
On the sidelines of the forum, JIB held meetings with several companies and non-profit associations including the largest union of employers in France MEDEF, the French Oil and Gas Suppliers Council GEP France, and the world’s largest utility company Électricité de France S.A. (EDF).
In addition to the EU Association Agreement, Jordan has a number of economic agreements with France including the Economic Cooperation Agreement and a Double Taxation Agreement. In addition, Jordan and the French Agency for Development (AFD) signed a 20-million-euro grant MOU, following an agreement signed with PROPARCO (a division of AFD), authorizing it to operate in Jordan and finance private sector projects. In 2008, Jordan signed an agreement with AREVA for uranium exploration and mining, in addition to a nuclear cooperation agreement.
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