Public-private cooperation could help boost investment in key areas going forward.

Omar Razzaz

Prime Minister , Jordan

Jordan understands that its path to sustainable and equitable economic growth includes aggressively increasing exports and FDI and enhancing its operational competitiveness. For this, we have developed a Five-Year Reform and Growth Matrix, which combines short- and medium-term actions for a realistic economic transformation. This matrix is devised to create not just jobs, but also an enabling economic environment for the advancement of Jordan's educated, skilled, and motivated population—especially women and youth—in already leading fields such as business services, technology, healthcare, engineering, tourism, and logistics. A valuable tool for investors that we have developed in cooperation with our international partners is the Project Pipeline Development Facility, geared toward preparing PPP projects that attract investments in key sectors such as water, health, ICT, tourism, waste management, and transport.

Muhannad Shehadeh

former minister of State for Investment Affairs & former President , Jordan Investment Commission (JIC)

Investment Law No. 30 was passed in 2014 to attract foreign investment and stimulate local investments. Compared to other investment laws in the region, it is a competitive legislative framework, offering a range of incentives and benefits in and outside the free zones. Jordan is largely open to foreign investment, and foreign and local investors are treated equally under the law. JIC is responsible for promoting new and existing investment in Jordan, including through simplifying investment procedures. The economic reforms in Jordan have led to the creation of a competitive investment environment and strengthening of the national economy. These reforms will be key to addressing investors' obstacles and making Jordan an attractive location for value-added investments.

Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh

Chairman, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global

There is an urgent need to transform Jordan into a knowledge economy. Jordanians like to take the US and the UK as role models, but I always compare Jordan to Finland because both have more in common. Both countries have a small population and no natural resources. However, Finland's GDP is over USD230 billion, whereas Jordan's is USD40 billion. There is no reason Jordan cannot reach a GDP level comparable to that of Finland's; we just need the political will and corresponding political decisions. Unfortunately, most governments address short-term issues. In comparison, Finland has decided to address long-term issues and invented the tools to become a knowledge economy. Finland is leading changes in education globally, and adopting its model is the short and long road to success. This is why I established the Talal Abu Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum, which has set a target for Jordan to reach USD280 billion in GDP by 2040. We have problems in the economy, including the closure of borders, which has turned Jordan into an economic prison. In the absence of that, the only approach is to go digital, because the digital economy has no borders.

Ghassan Nuqul

Vice Chairman, Nuqul Group

There are great opportunities. We have a new generation of brilliant Jordanians who are creative and at the forefront of technology. From my experience, what we need is the enabling environment, so if you create the right environment, then ideas will come. Renewable energy, mobile applications, smart phones, technology, and IoT will all develop as these young Jordanians come up with the ideas themselves. We need fewer unproductive taxes on them, and by unproductive taxes I mean taxes to cover the budget deficit. Government expenses are like a leaky bucket. However, the fact that a businessman can go and see five ministers in one week in Jordan tells you that the government is willing to listen.

Karim Kawar

President, Kawar Group

I was the architect of the REACH2025 initiative, which is building Jordan as a digital economy. First introduced in 2000, Jordan has come a long way in the ICT sector. Today, we are looking into moving Jordan into the digital economy, and increasingly we are using our smart devices to interact, whether it is with our banks or our government, which brings greater efficiency. Certainly, a great deal of that can utilize blockchain in terms of tokenization, making assets more accessible for potential buyers. That can cut across many industries, for example in agriculture; blockchain can track produce from the farm to the dining table. Today, there is a great deal of inefficiencies in that space, and many are exploring how to use blockchain to fix that, which can go a long way in enhancing our exports. This is where Jordan can learn from other countries that are now ahead of us in this space, though we can catch up and perhaps accelerate many of those opportunities.

Hala Zawati

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jordan

We are currently working with the participation of all stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to prepare Jordan's National Energy Strategy for 2030, with a vision for 2050 in mind. This strategy is built on four main pillars: energy security, increasing energy independence, reducing cost, and diversifying energy resources. When we talk about energy security, it is important to talk about local energy resources. We have been and will continue to work toward increasing locally generated energy. At present, around 10% of electricity in Jordan is generated from renewables, and we expect this figure to double by 2020. To do so, we are reinforcing our grid and developing our Green Corridor project. With the completion of this project, the grid will be able to take 1,200MW of additional renewable energy. We also plan to establish an Eastern Corridor to utilize more renewable energy, particularly solar from the northeast part of Jordan.

Tariq Hammouri

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply, Jordan

We are working on multiple fronts. One of the main front is the enhancement of exports, both of services and products, which is why in 4Q2018 we launched a program that will continue to promote and enhance exports in 2019. Specifically, we help SMEs that are exporting goods or services with training, coaching, networking, finding new markets, and financing whereby we effectively go into partnership with them. To enhance exports further, we are creating an export house in Jordan that will be equally owned by the private and public sectors. That will be a non-profit entity aimed at enhancing exports using various techniques and means, including mentoring, exhibitions, networking, and training.

Mothanna Gharaibeh

Minister , Digital Economy & Entrepreneurship

Jordan has invested almost USD200 million in building around 7,000km of fiber-optic cables. This reaches almost every district of the country and provides greater access for the private sector than the current fiber network. I want the private sector to use and benefit from this advanced and widespread infrastructure. We also want to enter into a PPP to introduce another wholesale operator to reduce the overall cost of connectivity and provide higher-speed internet to the public. On top of this, we can have security services, sandboxing, and other advanced services that can be scaled up to a national level. This is one of the projects MICT showcased at the London conference and will be opened up for partnership in 2019.