The European Investment Bank (EIB) has arranged a EUR 15 million¹ facility from the European Union's budgetary resources for supporting the modernisation and restructuring of the private sector, as well as the further development of the financial sector in Jordan. In particular, this facility is also targeting to support Jordan's efforts to develop its information technology industry.  This is the first EIB risk capital facility with an Information Technology focus in the Mediterranean region, which reflects Jordan's early move towards the new economy.

The funds, made available under the new Euro-Med Partnership mandate entrusted to the EIB over the period 2000-2006, are to build up the equity of private companies and investment funds, with a special focus on Information Technology.

The first investment under this facility is a direct EIB participation of USD 4 million into the Jordan Hi-Tech Fund. The fund will invest into equity of private companies in the Information Technology sector, which have good management, and promising business plans. The fund is promoted by the Egyptian Financial Group (EFG)-Hermes, well experienced in equity finance in the region, and benefits from substantial expertise in the software, telecommunications and information technology areas.

In keeping with the Barcelona Process, these EIB loans support Jordan's efforts to promote the development of a more open economy and are intended both to assist companies in preparing for market liberalisation with a view to progressive establishment of a free trade area with the European Union.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union objectives. It participates in the implementation of EU policies towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union. In the Mediterranean region, the EIB operates in the context and support of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, adopted in Barcelona in 1995, and which complements the EU Member States' own bilateral co-operation policies. Under the Euro-Med Partnership arrangements, the EIB is committed to lend EUR 6 425 million between 2000 and 2006 for investment projects in 12 non EU-Member Mediterranean countries. In 1999, some EUR 1 billion was committed by the Bank in support of a broad range of investments in the Mediterranean Region. EIB operations in Jordan, since 1978, total more than EUR 500 million, in support of projects in water supply and wastewater treatment, telecommunications, transport, electricity transmission and distribution, agricultural development and industrial projects, including SMEs.

(1) 1 EUR = 0.632300 GBP; 0.955600 USD, 0.663650 JOD