Jordan’s only port town, Aqaba, has the potential to become a world-class tourist destination.
Building on Aqaba’s long history as a shipping hub and locus of industrialization, Jordan is working to develop the region into the country’s southern economic growth pole. A master plan is already in place that projects that the Aqaba Special Economic Zone will help create $6 billion in new investments and nearly 100,000 new jobs.
Nathan Associates will help the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and the newly created Aqaba Development Corporation meet these projections. The first order of business is to assist ASEZA in improving its institutional capacity to perform regulatory and municipal functions, thereby enhancing its competitive position in the region and worldwide. Simultaneously Nathan will work with ASEZA’s counterpart¾the Aqaba Development Corporation¾to help it operate as an independent developer for the Aqaba region.
Funded by USAID and dubbed the AZEM project--meaning “strength” in Arabic--the $5.6 million contract expands Nathan’s work in Jordan. For nearly four years the firm has managed the highly effective Jordan Poverty Alleviation Project and has become increasingly familiar with the nation’s economy as a whole. This familiarity gave the firm insight on how to help Jordan achieve economic growth and good governance in the Aqaba region.