SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Jordan 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

By offering streamlined business solutions for investors and business owners, not to mention fiscal and financial incentives and top-notch free zone facilities, the airport free zone at Queen Alia Int'l has something for everyone.

Dr. AbdelMajid A. Al-Rahamneh
BIOGRAPHY
Chairman of JFDZ since July 2018, Dr. AbdelMajid A. Al-Rahamneh is also a member of the Administrative Committee of the Jordanian Association of Islamic Finance and was on the board of the Arab Company in the Jordanian Armed Forces from 2008 to 2012, the Association of Retired Military and Veterans from 2005 to 2015, and the Military Consumer Association from 2006 to 2015. He was also a financial advisor to the Al-Qimmah Company in the Jordanian Armed Forces from 2006 to 2015.

What have been the key achievements of JFDZ over the last year?

2018 gave Jordan's free and development zones an enhanced and future-oriented outlook. One of our main achievements was the completion of the infrastructure of the new Airport Free Zone in preparation for its official launch in early 2019. Moreover, JFDZ won a global bid to host the Middle East Regional Office for the World Free Zones Organization with a view to promote world free zones best practices. Looking at development zones, we also finalized the necessary infrastructure to launch the Dead Sea Corniche in 2019. This is a dynamic mixed-use neighborhood of hotels, residences, shops, restaurants, and public open spaces at the northern Dead Sea shore. Meanwhile, the Ajloun Teleferik bid was launched in 2018 to be implemented in 2019. Both the Dead Sea Corniche and Ajloun Teleferik are expected to enhance the tourism experience, attract local and foreign visitors and investors, and provide job opportunities for local communities. The occupancy rate of public free zones—Zarqa, Sahab, Mowaqa, Airport, Kerak, and Karamah—registered an average of 84%. In 2017, public free zone imports totaled USD3.52 billion, while exports registered USD3.94 billion for a total trade volume of USD7.47 billion. The total amount of investment in the 37 registered private free zones reached USD977 million, of which USD458 million, or nearly 47%, was Jordanian investments, while the total trade of private free zones registered USD1.83 billion. As for the development zones, JFDZ attracts a wide spectrum of Jordanian, regional, and international investors. The value of investments based on the signed development agreements for developing the Dead Sea Development Zone reached JOD1 billion, providing around 6,000 hotel rooms and no less than 7,500 direct job opportunities in the coming five years.

What is the strategic importance of the new free zone at Queen Alia International Airport?

It ties into the government's plans to enhance the investment climate in Jordan by providing a full package of logistics and re-export facilities. The newly established free zone covers 1 million sqm of developed land, offering world-class infrastructure and a lucrative business environment with administrative and logistics support services. The Airport Free Zone enjoys a vital location, given Jordan's strategic positioning in the heart of the Middle East and the zone's direct access to air cargo services and easy access to major road connections. The Queen Alia International Airport Free Zone's competitive advantage lies in being a logistics hub for import and re-exports by offering streamlined business operating environment for investors and business owners, as well as providing fiscal and financial incentives, electronic services for transactions, and top-notch free zone facilities and infrastructure networks. Additionally, the zone will provide unparalleled access to regional and international markets.

What are the targeted investment activities and sectors for the new Airport Free Zone?

These include logistic and refrigerated storage, medicines and medical supplies, consumables, precious materials, and heavy goods (timber and spare parts and plastic products) for the commercial sector. As a result, the targeted industrial investments will include chemical industries, food, beverage and tobacco, wood industry, machinery and electrical equipment industry, and the precious materials industry. In terms of markets, the current investment interests are diversified, from the Middle East and GCC to the US, Europe, India, and China.