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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

World Economic Forum: Prime Minister Omar Al Razzaz says Jordan is back in business

Mr Al Razzaz called for more support for countries taking in refugees

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Al Razzaz told investors in Davos the country had overcome its economic woes. AFP
Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Al Razzaz told investors in Davos the country had overcome its economic woes. AFP

"We are back in business," Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Al Razzaz told business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

Launching an elevator pitch to investors for Jordan as the place to do business in the region, Mr Al Razzaz said it had overcome its economic problems and will avoid engaging in regional conflicts.

The prime minister also described the virtues of helping refugees, asking for support for nations taking in victims of conflict.

"Jordan is determined to do good and to do well," he said, asking for "businesses from all over the world [to] come to Jordan and share in our dream of a renaissance in the Middle East".

Political and economic reforms have been put in action, Mr Al Razzaz said, promising Jordan could be a stable place to invest.

"We have started getting our house in order. We've taken the fiscal measures we needed to take, we've taken the government measures … we're getting to an environment that is safe, that is predictable, that is transparent," he said.

The prime minister revealed that Jordan would like to reach an agreement with its neighbours, as the UAE did with Saudi Arabia, to make cross-border trade and investment easier.

But the country suffers from the "neighbourhood effect", where people look at its conflict-ridden neighbours and get put off investing in the country.

"We avoid these adventures at the regional level and we try to convince all of our partners to try to find peaceful means to settling conflicts in the region," he said in response to a question about how regional conflicts can shake investors.

Mr Al Razzaz said Jordan was committed to supporting refugees, but called on other countries to open up their borders and for global co-operation on helping countries that take in refugees to bear the financial burden.

Jordan has taken in almost 1.3 million refugees from neighbouring Syria and Iraq in the past few years as conflicts led to humanitarian crises.

The World Economic Forum is an opportunity for political and economic leaders to discuss the state of the global economic order.

This year the theme of the forum is Globalisation 4.0, which seeks to find multilateral solutions to global problems such as climate change, populism and conflicts.

The Jordanian prime minister was seeking to reassure investors that the kingdom is the place to do business in the Middle East, following a crackdown on corruption.

Mr Al Razzaz was asked to form a new government in June last year after his predecessor resigned amid protests against IMF-backed austerity.

Since taking office he has clamped down on corruption with the support of Jordan's King Abdullah.

On Wednesday the State Security Court announced it had arrested six officials in a case involving the smuggling and manufacturing of fake-brand cigarettes, a case Mr Al Razzaz seized on since taking power.

Updated: January 25, 2019 05:47 AM

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