Investments from Korea will be a 'big' boost for capital inflows into the Kingdom, according to Jordan Investment Board (JIB) Acting Chief Executive Officer Awni Rushoud.
Expecting capital inflows this year to be 60 per cent higher than last year, Rushoud indicated that Jordan is set to "easily" exceed its $2 billion investment target by the end of 2012.
He pointed out that investments worth $600 million are expected to be registered in the coming weeks.
These investments are mainly coming from South Korea.
Asked if he was sure that these investments would materialise, the JIB chief said he was "100 per cent sure" the firms will apply soon to benefit from the Investment Promotion Law.
Rushoud mentioned that Korean-based Lotte Engineering and Construction Company is in talks with authorities in Amman to build and design a power plant in Al Manakher area, some 30 kilometres east of Amman.
He noted that the value of the soon-expected deal is around $540 million.
According to the Lotte website, the project includes building 38 16-megawatt diesel-fired generators.
Under the plan, the first phase will be completed by July 2013, with the plant to produce 250 megawatts of electricity. It will be followed by a second stage that will push up power production to around 600 megawatts when completed in May 2014, the company said on its website.
Rushoud also noted that there are other large Korean firms interested in waste management, recycling, infrastructure, medical and energy projects.
The JIB head indicated that Jordan will be targeting investors in a list of 11 countries during the second half of 2012.
The list of countries includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Spain and the US.
In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, Rushoud indicated that the volume of investments that benefitted from incentives reached nearly $1 billion in the first half of this year.
Noting that the share of local investors was 52 per cent, the JIB head urged Jordanian businesspeople to increase their investments in the Kingdom.
"We have a lot of idle excess money at the private sector," he said.
Rushoud said that JIB strategy currently gives priority to added-value foreign direct investments that use the human and natural resources of the Kingdom and to schemes outside the capital .
"There are many investors from various countries interested in establishing projects in Jordan, because they know that the Kingdom is the right place to start a business in the region," Rushoud said.
Jordan's stability vs regional turmoil
According to Rushoud, investment inflows to the Kingdom are expected to continue rising, mainly due to stability, security and safety in the country.
These three factors in addition to skilled manpower as well as the strategic location of the Kingdom are what investors usually search for, he said.
Jordan is the gateway for Iraq, Syria and the link between the Gulf region and Europe.
"We should not forget that Jordan has signed free trade agreements with many countries worldwide, which gives investors based in Jordan access to markets of over one billion consumers," Rushoud added.
Asked if Jordan has benefitted from the ongoing turmoil in the region, Rushoud said although some projects have moved to Jordan from unrest-hit Syria, Jordan could have benefitted more if the region was more stable.
The official noted that the JIB is currently participating with other government agencies to provide Gulf nations with profiles of development in governorates to be financed by the Gulf fund to support Jordan.
Last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar decided to extend $5 billion over a five-year period to support development schemes in Jordan. Each state will pay $1.25 billion.
Plans to facilitate FDI
Rushoud explained that the JIB is working to evaluate Jordan's ranking in international annual reports.
"We need to address shortcomings and build on strengths," he said, elaborating that investors look at indicators of a country before making their investment decision.
The JIB is also carrying out research and development, preparing investors guide, project profiling and data bank about investment opportunities around Jordan, according to Rushoud.
The JIB has recently set-up the after-care-unit, which means that the JIB helps investors before, during and after the investment process, he added.
The board also plans to establish joint committees with embassies of Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, US among others to promote Jordan's business opportunities in their countries.