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Jordan woos investors in bid to revamp Aqaba

Jordan offered foreign investors a new $3 billion development program on Wednesday to transform the ancient port city of Aqaba into a commercial, residential and tourism powerhouse. The Aqaba Development Corp. (ADC) has unveiled a tender initiative to lure international investors to the area.

The two-phase project invites private investors to partner with the ADC to relocate the existing port facilities 20 kilometers to the south while developing the vacated seafront with residential, commercial and tourism developments.

The main port facilities sitting at the heart of existing major urban development projects will be relocated to the southern border area with deeper waters and upgraded services with an ability to expand handling capacity for Jordan's only port. Aqaba Port currently handles approximately 21 million tons of cargo per annum. The vacated land represents prime waterfront property.

The city is a Special Economic Zone which currently enjoys low-tax and duty-free status, features a pristine coastline and terrain and is close to historic sites such as Petra and Wadi Rum.

The objective of this new development area will be to create a new mixed-use waterfront neighborhood and business district - a magnet for businesses and tourists - as well as creating new easy-to-access residential suburbs.

"We have been developing the Aqaba region for some time and this final phase will enable institutional investors to develop one of the most sought-after parcels of real estate in the world," said ADC chairman and CEO Imad Fakhoury. "We have shown that we're willing to offer levels of flexibility and freedom as well as government support to any private development initiative. With its location Aqaba is the most beautiful blank canvas that any developer could ever wish for."

Amman,12 12 2006
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The Daily Star
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