The Jordan-US Business Forum concluded with the announcement of several plans including a project to build a $1 billion luxury hotel in Amman.
The 475-room luxury hotel, which will be operated by Hilton Hotels, will be co-developed by Onix Investments and Koni Konsultants, both from Singapore and Koni Group of Orlando, according to an announcement made at the closing ceremony.
The hotel will be located at the southeast corner of the airport highway in Amman and the first phase of its construction will cost around $350 million, according to the announcement. The hotel is expected to create 5,600 jobs in Jordan.
As the gathering concluded, Royal Jordanian also announced the launch of direct service to Washington Dulles Airport this summer, making the US capital its fourth US destination and complementing its existing flights to Chicago, Detroit and New York.
One of the projects launched during the event was aimed at training farmers, assisting them in acquiring the necessary accreditations for demanding export markets, while helping them earn contracts to sell their produce.
Under the project, AgriJordan will take responsibility of the post-harvesting issues starting from grading, packing and cooling produce, to local, regional and international branding and marketing.
The King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) will collaborate with the program using its own farms, allowing qualified players from the private sector, other than AgriJordan, to be part of this cooperative effort in the future.
In addition, KAFD will evaluate the program with an eye to support growers from local communities to improve crop yields and quality, employment levels and the incomes of Jordanians working in the agricultural sector.
The first stage is estimated to cost JD1.12 billion, according to organizers of the forum, who added that the scheme will target 160 farmers, while saving water and the power needed to pump it.
Also Saturday, KADDB Investment Group, which functions under the King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau, and SunEdison signed a memorandum of understanding for the development and investment of dependable solar energy solutions mainly targeting regional defense and security markets.
The parties expect to develop a business that will achieve $250 million in sales in five years, creating more than 500 jobs in research and development, and operations.
At the event, the US and Jordan announced a JD500,000 fund to support entrepreneurship training boot camps by Oasis500 from the US Department of State in partnership with KAFD.
The impact of this partnership is to accelerate the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa region to promote private sector growth and job creation.
Additionally, the Business Park Development Corporation and Migrate signed a deal for the expansion of the current lease agreement between them. The agreement allows Migrate to expand and use more space within King Hussein Business Park by doubling its capacity, which is intended to attract more international and local companies in the SME Cluster.
Also Saturday, the Business Park Development Corporation, in collaboration with Ernst & Young, signed a consulting service agreement to support the King Hussein Business Park. This includes a four-storey, 130-room, four-star hotel — an 8,000-square-metre building to be transformed into an office building and a 4,000sq.m. gym. New facilities within the development area will include a high-end food and beverage complex that will host a range of restaurants and cafés and a convention centre. The project will create a minimum of 200 new jobs.
In the field of energy, Petra Solar and Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) signed an agreement to install 5,000 Petra Solar SunWave Smart Solar systems on rooftops in under-serviced governorates in Jordan.
The project will be the second phase of the "Let Jordan Shine" smart solar initiative which was launched at the first Jordan-US Business Forum.
For the project, Petra Solar will hire a Jordanian installation team, procure some system components and PV panels from local suppliers and producers, and engage students and faculty from Tafileh Technical University and other universities, where Petra Solar has installed a network operations center and wireless communications network to manage the system.
At the event, KAFD announced a program focusing on building civic engagement and strengthening democratic values in Jordan through social entrepreneurship.
Over the next few months, KAFD will be developing the details for the program, which will be a means of building and strengthening grass-roots participation in a democratic culture.
The forum, which attracted more than 100 US companies, was designed to enhance bilateral partnerships, as well as explore and seize mutually beneficial business opportunities in Jordan and the region.