Saudi Arabia and Jordan Boost Partnership
Following a March 2017 meeting between His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan, their militaries began the multiweek joint Abdullah 5 exercise in counterterrorism and special operations in April, according to the Jordanian Army.
Saudi and Jordanian forces aim to exchange knowledge during these exercises to boost their joint coordination capabilities, al-Arabiya reported. In addition, the training will increase both armies’ combat readiness and ability to rapidly respond to potential threats.
These exercises come on the heels of recent economic agreements between the leaders. In a move that would provide Jordan with more reliable jobs, electricity, water supplies, health services and housing, they made a plan to set up a $3 billion Saudi-Jordanian joint investment fund, according to Saudi state media. The new company will be a joint enterprise of the Saudi General Investments Fund (SGIF), which manages 200 investments worldwide, the Jordan Commercial Banks Group and the Jordan Islamic Banks Group, according to SGIF supervisor Yasir al-Rumayyan.
The two Jordanian banking groups encompass the Arab Bank, the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance, the Jordan Ahli Bank, the Jordan Kuwait Bank, Ettihad Bank, the Bank of Jordan, the Cairo Amman Bank, the Jordan Islamic Bank, the Arab International Islamic Bank and the Jordan Dubai Bank.
The new company will make investment decisions based on criteria that “ensure long-term revenue,” al-Rumayyan said. Speaking with al-Rumayyan in March 2017, Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki urged the joint fund to implement economically feasible projects, vowing to help in any way possible to facilitate such investments, according to Petra News Agency.
The agreement to set up the new fund was among 15 cooperation agreements King Salman signed during a March 2017 meeting in Amman. Others included measures to boost power generation, tackle worsening water shortages, and improve housing and health services. The accords cover uranium mining, water desalination projects and a memorandum to build a $70 million solar power station on Jordan’s eastern border.
Jordanians view such investments as a way to improve economic stability in a country that, though resource-poor, continues to host hundreds of thousands of refugees. In total, the agreements are worth $3.5 billion.