AMMAN — The Jordan Investment Fund (JIF) and the Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund (SJIF) on Monday signed an investment and development agreement to implement a project worth $400 million in the healthcare and medical education sectors.
During an event held at the Prime Ministry, a lease agreement for the project site, a land area of about 187 dunums, was also signed between SJIF and Amman Vision Investment and Development Company, a company fully owned by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) as its investment arm, according to a SJIF statement.
The agreements were signed by SJIF Chairman Hisham Attar, SJIF CEO Omar Alwir, Amman Mayor Yousef Al Shawarbeh, who is also the chairman of Amman Vision Investment and Development Company, JIF Director Zaher Qatarneh, and acting CEO of Amman Vision Investment and Development Company Ala’a-Eddin Beano.
The project will be implemented based on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, as ownership of the project will be transferred to the Jordanian government after the end of the investment period.
The project is included under the provisions of Jordan Investment Fund Law No. (16) of 2016 as per the decision of the Jordanian Cabinet issued on October 18, 2020.
The healthcare project will consist of a university hospital with 300 beds, more than 60 outpatient clinics, an ambulatory care building, and a medical school with a total capacity for 600 students, with a projected annual student intake of 100 students. The project is expected to create more than 5,000 employment opportunities.
The project will be strategically located on the airport road, near Ghamadan area, providing access to patients from across Jordan.
It will be implemented in partnership with two of the most prestigious global institutions in the fields of healthcare and medical education: The University College London (UCL) Medical School as the academic partner, and UCLA Health in Los Angeles, California, as the clinical partner.
During the signing ceremony, Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh emphasised the deep-rooted relations between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and the keenness to boost cooperation between the two countries in all fields, particularly in the economic and investment areas, reflecting the visions of the leaderships of both countries and their close partnership.
At the event, SJIF Chairman Hisham Attar expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the Jordanian government in supporting and attracting investments, reiterating the commitment of the SJIF to continue working with the government and the private sector to explore and implement sustainable and value-added investments in Jordan.
Attar indicated that one of the main objectives of the SJIF is to contribute to economic growth in Jordan through the long-term investments in key strategic sectors, reflecting the vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Majesty King Abdullah, to boost economic and investment collaboration between the two countries.
He pointed out the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the strategy of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia that seek to achieve regional economic integration, stressing that the SJIF seeks to be a leader in impactful investments in Jordan.
SJIF CEO Omar Alwir indicated that the project seeks to bring global knowledge and expertise into Jordan, contribute to improving the health sector in the country, strengthen the model of accountable care, provide high-quality healthcare services, and stimulate medical tourism and boost Jordan’s position in this field.
By providing access to distinguished medical education, the project also seeks to build medical competencies aimed at graduating a new generation of doctors, researchers and future leaders in medicine, Alwir said.
One of the most important characteristics of the project is its focus on scientific research and development in the medical fields, as up to 7.5 per cent of the project’s revenue will be dedicated to research and development in Jordan.
Alwir stressed that the partnership with two leading global medical and educational institutions will play a vital role in realising the project’s vision in adding value to the healthcare and medical education sectors in Jordan.
“We’re proud to collaborate with UCLA Health, one of the top healthcare providers in the United States, and with UCL Medical School, which is ranked among the top 10 institutions in medicine worldwide,” Alwir stated.
UCL, founded in 1826, is ranked eighth in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022), second in the UK for research power (REF 2021) and has 30 Nobel Prize Laureates among its alumni and current or former staff to date. UCL is a culturally diverse university with more than 43,000 students representing over 150 nationalities.
UCL Medical School (UCLMS) is a recognised international centre of excellence for medical education. The teaching of medicine has been an integral part of UCL since 1834. UCLMS is associated, and works closely with, several major teaching hospitals. UCL is ranked 9th in the world in the QS World University Rankings (2021) for Medicine.
Professor Mahmoud Sarhan, CEO of SJIF’s Healthcare Project, said the project will include five medical centres of excellence, focused on providing expertise around the most common, and fastest-growing, non-communicable diseases in Jordan and the region, including cardiology, oncology, neurology, gastroenterology and orthopedics.
Another major goal, he added, is to focus on advanced scientific research through establishing four scientific research centes in the fields of genomics and precision medicine, stem cells and regenerative medicine, health systems and public health, and bioinformatics.
Saudi Ambassador to Jordan Naif Bin Bandar Al Sudairi pointed out to the distinguished relations between Saudi Arabia and Jordan across all fields, expressing his appreciation of the efforts exerted towards launching this flagship project in Jordan by the SJIF.
The ambassador added that Saudi Arabia is Jordan’s largest trade partner and has always been eager to explore investment opportunities aiming at boosting economic cooperation between the countries.
In his remarks, US Ambassador Henry Wooster highlighted the importance of this project and its contribution to the economic growth by creating thousands of jobs for Jordanians.
“I am thrilled of the role UCLA Health will play in designing and operating the new hospital.” He added that this kind of technology transfer and exchange of knowhow represents the best the United States has to offer.
British Ambassador to Jordan Bridget Brind said: “I am delighted that the UK in Jordan has been able to support the establishment of this major long-term partnership between the SJIF and UCL, one of the top universities in the UK and internationally, alongside UCLA.”
This significant project, worth $400 million in total, will contribute positively to the vital sectors of healthcare and education in Jordan, as well as to the economy, and it is expected to create around 5000 jobs, the ambassador added.
Construction works for the healthcare project are expected to start following the completion of the design works, and is expected to be ready in the second half of this year.
The signing ceremony was attended by several ministers, high-ranking officials, and the ambassadors of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US in Jordan.
The SJIF is a Jordanian Limited Public Shareholding Company formed in 2017 as a partnership between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which owns around 92 per cent of the company, and 16 conventional and Islamic Jordanian banks, which own the remaining 8 per cent.
The company was registered per Jordan Investment Fund Law number 16 for 2016, and its formation is an outcome of the Jordanian Saudi Cooperation Council and a MoU signed between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the Jordan Investment Fund on August 25, 2016.
The company’s Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association were signed during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to Jordan on March 27, 2017, in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah at the Royal Hashemite Court in Amman.
SJIF’s investment strategy focuses on three pillars: Infrastructure projects based on public and private partnerships, especially in the transport, energy, tourism, and water sectors; new projects in vital sectors, especially healthcare, education and tourism; and expanding capital investments through supporting successful and promising Jordanian companies.