(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Foreign direct investments (FDI) surged more than 10-fold in the first quarter of this year, according to Jordan Investment Board (JIB) acting CEO Awni Rushoud.
At a press conference on Saturday, the official indicated that FDI inflows to the Kingdom jumped to JD149 million during the January-March period of this year from only JD13 million in the same period of 2011.
Total flows that benefited from the investment promotion laws and incentives in the first three quarters of the year reached JD298 million, with local investors taking a 50 per cent share, estimated at JD149 million.
Rushoud attributed the rise in FDI inflows, despite the ongoing turmoil in the region, to investors' acknowledgement of "the security and economic and political stability the Kingdom enjoys".
"Investors also see an advantage in the strategic location of Jordan, which is a gateway to other regional markets such as Iraq and Syria," he noted, adding that skilled human resources in Jordan are also a major element of attraction.
Investments by Jordanian businesspeople dropped from JD208 million in the first three months of 2011 to JD149 million. The decline, according to Rushoud, was due to the fact that local investors are searching for schemes of large financial return, which are available in other markets such as Libya and Turkey.
The industrial sector attracted the majority of overall registered investments, with projects estimated at JD255 million, which is over 85 per cent of the total investment volume during the first three months of the year.
The hotels sector came second with projects worth nearly JD20 million, while around JD15 million is expected to be invested in the amusement parks industry, according to the JIB.
The registered investments are expected to create over 4,200 employment opportunities when implemented.
The JIB chief added that the targeted volume of investments for the entire year is expected to reach JD1.5 billion, which is 50 per cent higher than the JD1 billion recorded last year.
The board will focus on attracting capital inflows from the Gulf region, Iraq, the US, EU, China and Korea among other countries, Rushoud said.
He noted that the JIB will also work on moving projects from trouble-hit Syria to Jordan.
The official noted that the JIB strategy focuses on developing investments in the sectors of energy and water, medical and pharmaceuticals, ICT and tourism as well as mineral and natural resources. The government's priority, he told reporters, is to bring into the country added-value investments that can create jobs and utilise the raw material of the Kingdom.
"We are focusing on the quality of projects rather than volume of investments," the official explained.