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Sun 20 May 2007 02:32 PM

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Jordan signs deals totalling $2.5bn

WEF special: projects in areas such as transport, energy and finance aim to boost the economy.

Jordan has signed over $2.5 billion worth of business agreements aimed at strengthening the country's economy in areas such as transportation, energy and finance.

Announced yesterday at the World Economic Forum being held in the country, the deals include construction of a light railway from Amman to Zarqa, a $550 million expansion of the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, and development of a $500 million beach resort on the Dead Sea.

"Today's agreements reiterate our commitment to strengthening our economy through private sector-led investment and growth, as well as our commitment to cross-border partnerships," said King Abdullah II of Jordan at the signing ceremony.

In total 24 projects were agreed at the forum with local and international companies from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, China, India, the US and the UK.

Seven of those agreements involve development of the King Hussein Bin Talal Economic Zone in the north-eastern city of Mafraq, where last year King Abdullah II announced the establishment of a logistics and light industry park.

These include construction of a $49.4 million cable manufacturing facility, a $21 million air-conditioning unit production plant, a $28.2 million shipping logistics centre, and a $20 million aluminium manufacturing plant.

Agreements were also signed with tenants of the Irbid Economic Zone in the north of the country, which will see a $35 million nursing college set up at the healthcare, education and information technology free zone - launched this month.

The energy sector will see a Jordan Dubai Energy-led consortium acquire half of the state-owned Central Electricity Generating Company (CEGCO) for around $645 million.

In other agreements, Jordan Dubai Capital and Dubai Islamic Bank are to acquire a $100 million stake in Industrial Development Bank and the Jordanian government has signed two strategic partnerships with US software giants Microsoft and Oracle.

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