Dutch Ambassador completes two-day visit to Aqaba

Aqaba, Jordan  – The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan, Mr. Harry Verweij visited Aqaba for a two-day work visit where he met with local representatives, stakeholders and implementing partners. He also paid a visit to businesses and large infrastructural projects to highlight Dutch/Jordanian cooperation in the areas of private sector development, youth employment and climate change mitigation and to discuss other areas of mutual interest.

Image: ©Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan

On the first day, Ambassador Verweij met with H.E. Eng. Nayef Al Bakheet, Chief Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and H.E. Mr. Hussein Al Safadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Aqaba Development Corporation in separate meetings to discuss potential areas of Dutch Jordanian collaboration and to explore Aqaba as an entrepreneurial and business hub in Jordan.

“In our efforts to support Jordan with the hosting of refugees, we place great emphasis on private sector development and youth employment – two factors crucial for the strengthening of Jordan’s economic resilience. Aqaba’s designation as a special economic zone already plays an important role in fostering Direct Foreign Investment and  private sector development and can further be developed into a hub for entrepreneurship which creates thriving jobs for youth,” said Verweij.

Moreover, on occasion of the Netherlands pledging a grant of $30 million to the Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance Project, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of the environmental impacts of such mega projects emphasizing Dutch interest in protecting the gulf of Aqaba and maritime life in his meetings with ASEZA and ADC.

On the topic of climate change adaptation and green energy, the Ambassador expressed interest in further exploring possibilities and partnerships focusing on green hydrogen in light of the recently completed pre-feasibility study carried out by The Port of Rotterdam and Dutch Royal Haskoning.

“The Netherlands is committed to working with Jordan on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, and to exchange Dutch know-how and expertise in water management and pilot green hydrogen initiatives,” said Verweij.

Ambassador Verweij also paid a visit to iPARK, the first business incubator in Aqaba and implementing partner of ‘Orange Corners’ – an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands that provides young entrepreneurs a platform for training, mentorship, networking and funding to start and grow their businesses. The Ambassador congratulated iPARK’s Chief Executive Officer, Omar Hamarneh on the partnership with Orange Corners which is set to begin implementation in Aqaba at the beginning of 2023 for a period of three years.

Ambassador Verweij’s tour of Aqaba also included visits to the Aqaba Container Terminal which recently signed a $240 million memorandum of understanding with Dutch-Danish company AP Muller, in addition to the Aqaba Logistic Village, Ayla, NaiTel and the port of Aqaba.