By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN – Renewable energy may be a major challenge for Jordan, but can also be a great economic opportunity that can place the Kingdom at the regional forefront, Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) President Issa Batarseh said on Sunday.

“Economies like Jordan must take all necessary political and financial steps to ramp up support for renewable energy… Jordan cannot afford to miss this opportunity of solving its energy problem once and for all,” he said, during the 2nd International Conference of the PSUT King Talal Business School.

Batarseh, who spoke on behalf of HRH Princess Sumaya, president of El Hassan Scientific City and PSUT chairperson, underlined that the Kingdom has all the elements to develop a strong renewable energy market due to its well-built IT sector, quality of its engineering and computing sciences educational institutions, reasonable labour market and growing energy demands.

During the two-day conference, titled “Global Financial Crisis… Lessons and Challenges”, businesspeople and academicians highlighted the need to further study the global economic crisis and its “ongoing” impact on the Arab world in order to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

Due to the fact that the Islamic banking system has surfaced after the global meltdown, the conference seeks to highlight a concrete analysis of this system and the way it tackles the international financial problems, according to King Talal Business School Dean Mahmoud Qudah.

“Banks and financial institutions are going through a sea of changes and face an environment marked by growing consolidation, rising customer expectations, increasing requirements, and mounting competition,” he mentioned, stressing that this has increased the importance of enhancing the capacity of banking institutions.

Presenting a briefing on the repercussions of the global financial crisis on Jordan, The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance Chief Executive Officer Omar Malhas said the Jordanian banking sector has developed “rapidly” during the last 25 years, noting that banks enjoy high levels of liquidity due to their adherence to the instructions of the Central Bank of Jordan.

“The negative impact of the crisis can be seen in the rescheduling of loans and the overall weakness of the banking activities,” he added, listing the drop in the prices of imported commodities and the revisit of credit policies among the positive impact of the financial downturn.

Participants from Jordan, Palestine, Algeria, Iraq, UK, Belgium, are also discussing the role of creativity and entrepreneurships in eliminating the impact of economic crisis and means to attract investments to the Arab world.