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QATAR Qatar to contribute $1.25b to Gulf Development Fund

Riyadh summit decided to create fund to support projects in Jordan and Morocco

By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
June 11, 2012

Manama: Qatar has pledged to contribute $1.25 billion (Dh4 billion) contribution to the Gulf Development Fund, a senior Jordanian official said.

In December, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced the establishment of a $5 billion fund for development plans in Jordan and Morocco, the only two countries in the Arab world that are not members of the GCC.

The GCC said in its communiqué at the end of the annual summit in Riyadh that it has decided to create a Gulf Development Fund in support of projects in Jordan and Morocco. Each country will get $2.5 billion in aid.

Jaafar Hassan, Jordan’s planning and international cooperation minister, said that “Qatar has shown interest in supporting projects in the field of energy, health and transport.”

Qatar will support “projects of priority” and those listed in the state budget, he said on the sidelines of the opening of the second meeting of the Arab Planning Institute’s (API) board of trustees,

“Among the projects that Qatar is keen to support is the gas storage terminal scheme,” he was quoted saying by the Jordan Times on Saturday.

Most of these projects will be funded through grants that enable the public sector, including local and foreign investors, to invest in these ventures.

Earlier, Hassan said a meeting will be held for senior GCC officials this month to endorse an action plan for funding projects in Jordan.

The government has prepared a list of priority projects, which was endorsed by the Cabinet lately, he said.

Priority development projects listed on the 2012 budget are worth around 400 million Jordanian dollars (Dh2 million). More development ventures, including renewable energy, health and education, will be listed in the upcoming budget, he said.

Good governance

The minister said that the aftermath of the global financial crisis required developing programmes to improve democracy and good governance.

According to the minister, political and economic insecurity in the region was caused by challenges posed by unemployment and poverty, as well as the lack of food security and energy resources resulting from the growing population.

Economic growth should be extended to include citizens’ quality of life and to ensure that development gains are justly distributed, he was quoted saying by the daily.

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