STRONGER TOGETHER

Jordan 2019 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

The UK is at the center of coordinating the assistance that will help lay the foundations for a strong and prosperous future for Jordan.

Theresa May
BIOGRAPHY
Theresa May has been involved in politics at all levels for many years, beginning by stuffing envelopes at her local Conservative association before going on to be a councillor in the London borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994. She was elected MP for Maidenhead in May 1997, after which she held several shadow positions, including Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, Shadow Secretary of State for the Family, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women and Equalities. She served as Home Secretary from May 2010 until July 2016 and became Prime Minister on July 13, 2016.

In 2017, I was delighted to visit Jordan not once, but twice. And it was there in Amman that I and the King agreed on a new ambitious partnership for the long-term benefit of both our countries. Today we have built on that partnership through our new initiative, the London Initiative.

This initiative backs Jordan's Vision 2025 and supports Jordan in delivering social and economic reforms that will transform its economy, making the most of its young, talented, and diverse workforce—and, crucially, actively encouraging the participation of its women. That vision is already becoming a reality. Today has demonstrated how much has been achieved and how Jordan's reform program is already making a difference. Earlier, I heard from HM King Abdullah II about his own personal commitment to supporting Jordan's government to drive forward these reforms.

There remain complex and long-term regional and economic challenges. But Jordan has a robust and realistic strategy to bring about change. Coming together today provides us with the opportunity to shore up and transform Jordan's economy, working together to tackle instability, and create an attractive environment for investment with benefits beyond Jordan. That is why it has been so good to see governments, CEOs, and investors backing this new approach to support Jordan, matching confidence with commitments that will help unlock growth, jobs and investment. Unlocking this potential to enable Jordan to prosper and remain a beacon of stability matters to all of us.

Jordan sits at the center of a region that has faced turbulence and uncertainty over the last decade; the political upheaval in 2010 and 2011, emergence of Daesh, and ongoing conflict in Syria have changed the face of the Middle East. The people of Jordan have demonstrated resilience in the face of these challenges. Despite having their traditional trade relationships severed, energy challenges intensified, they have given shelter and support to more than 650,000 refugees from various regional conflicts. All the while, Jordan has been steadfast in the fight against terrorism and pursuing peace and promoting stability in the Middle East. For decades, Jordan and the UK have stood side by side on these and other issues.
So we must be clear: a stable Jordan defends us from terrorist groups taking root and strengthens the border security of neighboring countries. And that is why our collective support for Jordan is so crucial. Jordan is an old and cherished friend of the UK. At the heart of our long-term partnership is a broad and deep commitment to tackling common challenges.
The UK is at the center of coordinating the assistance that will help lay the foundations for a strong and prosperous future for Jordan. Key to this is the role played by the IMF and the World Bank. But we have to remember that the private sector will be the key to catalyzing Jordan's economic transformation. As governments, we can create the frameworks and environments that foster economic growth, but private investment is what will make the real difference. To demonstrate the extent of the UK's own confidence in Jordan and our determination to make the vision of Jordan's Prime Minister and King a reality, I am pleased that the UK will be underwriting a USD250-million World Bank loan to Jordan. This will come alongside a substantial uplift in our grant financing over the next five years. This will open the door to reinvigorating Jordan's economy, attracting the investment needed to stimulate growth and create jobs.

Jordan shows us what a modern, reforming, and innovative Middle Eastern state can look like. But it is important now that we maintain momentum. We have an opportunity—and a way forward—to support Jordan and it is crucial that we all pull together to form a global coalition to back Jordan for the future. A future in which Jordan and the international community can bring about lasting change.