AMMAN — The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) will offer tenders early next year for the implementation of a JD2 billion scheme to develop the northern one of Aqaba, its chief commissioner Nasser Shraideh said Monday.
"We will float the tenders internationally to attract investors from across the world to proceed with the megaproject," Shraideh told The Jordan Times in a phone interview on Monday.
All projects under the mega scheme will be implemented through public-private partnerships, Shraideh said, adding that efforts will be exerted to highlight the investment opportunities in the northern zone of Aqaba to investors from across the region and in several other targeted countries.
The project stretches over a total area of ??109 square kilometres, of which 87 square kilometres are located within the border strip of Wadi Araba and 22 kilometres within Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ), Shraideh said on Monday.
According to Shraideh, construction work will begin in 2019, starting with laying the necessary infrastructure for the scheme, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.
"The scheme falls in line with ASEZA's strategy to stimulate economic growth and sustainable development in the area by attracting investments and creating jobs," he said.
The new development project will feature various resorts and tourism outlets, linking eco-tourism in Wadi Araba with Petra to benefit from the advantages offered by these areas. Moreover, the project will contribute to increasing hotel room capacity in Aqaba.
Part of the project’s land will be allocated for industrial investments, with a plan in place to lure new industries that can benefit from Aqaba’s logistics estates, and the recently developed and upgraded ports community.
This will allow the creation of industrial estates to support specialised industrial investments and manufacturing industries, and the establishment of business incubators, he said.
The zone includes several investment-stimulating elements, such as road and sewerage networks and a rainwater drainage system and addresses the problem of high energy costs through the establishment of a renewable energy project that starts with generating 20MW each year reach 200MW upon completion of the project.
As part of the scheme, the zone will feature a water desalination plant with a capacity of 20 million cubic metres per year, to reach 120 million cubic metres upon the completion of the project in addition to a network serving communications and information technology.
The newly developed area will benefit from the special law that governs ASEZ and the incentives and investment advantages that the region offers, he said.
The scheme, the ASEZA chief said, will include agricultural projects based on modern technology and the benefit of treated and desalinated water, pointing to the start of the first agricultural project, “Sahara”, which extends over 2,000 acres of desert land.
He added that the new development zone will also include service investments such as labour cities, health and education services, an Olympic city, a club, a track for car rallies and studios for cinematography.
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