24 March 2010

Greater Aqaba ~ Jordan's Compelling Vital City!

As I've noted before, I'm quite fascinated by the tremendous prospects for Jordan's southernmost city, the historic crossroads and seaport of Aqaba! Bordered by Taba and Eilat to the west and Haql to the south, Aqaba is really quite important as an entrepôt for the country and a bridge city linking disparate communities and neighboring peoples. And given the recent growth of interest in Charter Cities, and the role of SEZ's in China and other boom zones, I'd like to spotlight Aqaba as an emergent live-case example. Indeed, in a bold move, the Jordanians back in 2001 created the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) whose Authority runs...
"A liberalized, low tax duty-free and multi-sector development zone, the ASEZ offers multiple investment opportunities in a strategic location on the Red Sea covering an area of 375 km² and encompassing the total Jordanian coastline (27 km), the sea-ports of Jordan and an international airport. [...] Striving to turn Aqaba into a world class Red Sea business hub and leisure destination. ASEZA sustains a globally competitive investor-friendly environment and optimizes the efficient utilization of entrusted resources in harmony with the Zone's Master Plan to internationally recognized standards."
While the Greater Aqaba region is an environmentally challenging development zone, because the coastal area has historic- and eco-tourism sites as well as industrial and seaport infrastructure situated quite close together, these can be addressed and resolved. To execute the plan, the government and ASEZA have started the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) chartered to spearhead central development. ADC owns the ports, strategic land parcels, and key infrastructure and utilities. The latest news is that ADC Invites Companies to Submit Expression of Interest in Port Construction Works...
"The New Port of Aqaba will replace the existing main port facility and is an integral part of ADC’s transport master plan to transform Aqaba into a leading multi-modal logistics gateway for the Levant region on the Red Sea," said Shadi Ramzi Majali, CEO of ADC. [...] The site of the current port is being turned into a beachfront leisure and tourism destination called Marza Zayed."

1 comment:

Live in Aqaba said...

Hi Joost:

I stumbled upon your blog while doing a Google search on Aqaba. I agree with you that the prospects in Aqaba are tremendous. It is fascinating to witness them first hand. Aqaba is home to the first sustainable home in Jordan (see "Live in Aqaba" group on Facebook), and I'd love to see more sustainable homes in the growing city. It is impossible to live without an A/C in the summer and electric bills can run quite high. It would be great to see solar energy utilized in future development.

All the best,