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IFC-WB report presents roadmap for private sector reforms — Shraideh

AMMAN — The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank (WB) on Tuesday launched a joint report titled “Jordan’s Country Private Sector Diagnostic” (CPSD).

The report said that by stimulating private sector investments and reducing constraints facing the business community, Jordan will be able to reduce unemployment rates and enhance growth rates, according to a Planning Ministry statement.

The report considers three sectors: Tourism, logistics and information and communication technology (ICT). The report looks at the potential contributions these sectors will bring to the Jordanian economy, as well as the obstacles they face from general or sector-specific policies and regulations.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Nasser Shraideh said that the report coincides with the government’s launch of its priority programme for 2021-2023, which is considered the “fast lane” for the government to stimulate the private sector and create jobs for Jordanian youth.

The minister added that the report corresponds to the programme in terms of assessing the challenges hindering growth in the Kingdom and in presenting a roadmap for reforms that can boost the business sector in Jordan and attract foreign investments.

Investment Minister Khairy Amr said that the goals of the ministry are to create an attractive investment environment, enhance partnership between the public and private sectors, and to act as an official government institution concerned with all investment affairs in Jordan.

Amr also noted that work is in progress to draw an action plan to offer all investment services electronically without the need to visit the ministry or any other government institution. This would improve the Kingdom’s ranking in international reports and create an attractive investment environment.

The CPSD outlined some of the most important challenges facing private sector activity, which include: High business costs, policy unpredictability and investment risks, excessive labour market segmentation and shortcomings related to market competition.

Hela Cheikhrouhou, IFC's regional vice president for the Middle East, Central Asia, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, said: “Thanks to the skilled workforce, historical area and the flourishing renewable energy industry, Jordan has the crucial elements of a vivid economy”.

Yet, to realise these potentials, the Kingdom needs to stimulate competitiveness, enhance the business environment, strengthen the digital economy and increase foreign investments. This would enhance the presence of a private sector that can create jobs and compete at the international level, Cheikhrouhou added.

IFC’s Country Manager for the Levant Region Abdullah Jefri said that Jordan is a country with huge potential and has realised “true progress” in improving its business climate. However, he added, stronger reforms are required to address existing problems and put the country on a more sustainable track for economic growth.

Saroj Kumar Jha, the regional director of the Mashreq Department at the World Bank, said that there is no doubt that the tourism, logistics and ICT sectors are full of potential, and the next few years will prove that it is essential to realise equal opportunities in these sectors to enable innovative companies with good managements to succeed. Doing this will help create jobs and enhance growth that Jordan “seriously needs”, he added.

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