Amazon’s confidence in Jordan: A sign of success

2. Khalid Dalal
(Photo: Jordan News)
HRH Crown Prince Hussein’s inauguration last week of Amazon’s new corporate office in the Abdali district of Amman carried two messages: The first is the Royal keenness on handling the investment file the best way possible through sending a note of welcome and support to investors considering options in the region. The second is that mega investors like Amazon, worth more than $1.5 trillion, have confidence in Jordan’s potential despite the intense competition with other lucrative regional markets such as the Gulf countries and Egypt.اضافة اعلان

At the event, the Crown Prince highlighted “the important role of international technology companies in supporting economic growth and creating job opportunities” in Jordan. For his part, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh said that “Amazon’s investments are in line with the national digital economy strategy.”

Vice President of Amazon MENA Ronaldo Mashhour, who represented the company at the inauguration ceremony, commended Jordan’s “technological advancements”, which, he said, “support the operations of Amazon’s regional office.”

In fact, the e-commerce giant, aware of Jordan’s reputation as a talent pool, has plans to double its human capital in the Kingdom, standing now at more than 1,200 employees, next year and “take on more responsibilities, including data processing and analysis, digital content creation, artificial intelligence utilization, technology development, customer service, and regional operational support.”

The development is timely, as e-commerce in the MENA region grew to $21 billion last year, according to specialists, and is expected to rise to $50 billion in just four years, meaning more than a double in half a decade. That’s very good news for us to bear in mind.

Jordan has huge potential as an e-commerce hub. In addition to the availability of a talented workforce, internet penetration and social media usage rates are exceptionally high. According to the official website of the US International Trade Administration, in a report updated late last month, “Jordan is one of the more advanced countries in the region in this field. The country has an internet penetration rate of around 68 percent and high-speed broadband is widely available, in addition to having multiple internet service providers. E-commerce facilities have been developed by various service providers.”

What is needed now is a sound update of e-commerce laws in the Kingdom to keep up with developments in this industry worldwide. According to the same report, “there has yet to emerge a clear set of regulations covering e-commerce transactions. Legislation that allows for and regulates electronic signatures is still needed.” This should be an alarm for decision-makers to act on such a finding and make sure that the target audience receives the right message.

Facts and figures like this are very telling to potential investors. That’s why the US government updates reports of this type and places them at the disposal of corporate and individual investors, providing them with enough insight into the sector, leaving the ball in the court of countries, like Jordan, to stand out as an attractive destination for potential investors.

The Kingdom should always have something unique to offer industry and technology giants like Amazon and others — including Google, Apple, and Facebook, now Metaverse — including the talent of its youth, its geographical location and, equally importantly, Jordan’s reputation as an ambitious and goal-oriented country.

In this context, the Kingdom’s diplomatic missions should play a pivotal role in monitoring the markets, where they operate, and do their homework to contact potential investors, in coordination with the concerned government parties back home, to lure them to the country. Diplomats tasked with this job should follow a well-studied plan designed for this purpose, and receive the necessary training to be qualified for the mission.

And while the government and its various institutions are supposed to do their part, the private sector should not stand idle and just watch. In fact, it has a vested interest as partners, supportive service providers, and input suppliers. Therefore, they should be engaged in attracting investments from the very beginning, and it is certain that they will be very useful in the entire process.

Jordan has a great potential to succeed as a regional hub for many global companies. What we need to do is to believe in ourselves that we can do and act accordingly, bearing in mind that the competition in the region is fierce and failure is never an option.

The writer is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, a former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah II, and works currently as a senior advisor for business development at Al-Ghad and Jordan News.

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