By JT – Nov 09,2015
AMMAN — Jordan and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Sunday signed two loan agreements worth $126 million to finance electricity and water projects.

Also on Sunday, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour met with EIB Vice President Dario Scannapieco and voiced Jordan’s appreciation for the financial and technical assistance the bank provides to the Kingdom, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The assistance has enabled the government to finance some development projects in the infrastructure and water sectors, such as the Amman ring road project and the Disi Water Conveyance Project, Ensour noted.

Scannapieco, who is on his first official visit to the Kingdom, stressed the EIB’s support for Jordan’s development efforts and its readiness to finance the implementation of high-priority projects, according to Petra.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury and Scannapieco signed the first loan agreement, worth $72 million, which will finance the National Electric Power Company’s (NEPCO) Green Corridor project, a ministry statement said.

The project is a top priority scheme within NEPCO’s plans in electric conveyance aimed at enhancing the efficiency of the national grid through building a substation in northern Maan, extending power cables and expanding the Qatraneh and Queen Alia International Airport stations.

These measures are aimed at enabling the grid to accommodate new power loads generated from renewable energy sources to reach the envisioned goal of the national strategy by raising the renewable energy contribution to the energy mix to 10 per cent by 2020, the ministry statement said.

The total cost of the project is $159.7 million, the statement said, with the French Development Agency (AFD) providing a $54.9 million soft loan, NEPCO contributing $12.6 million, in addition to an EU grant of $20.2 million offered under the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF).

Also on Sunday, Fakhoury, Scannapieco and other concerned Jordanian officials signed a $54 million worth agreement related to the Wadi Al Arab Water System II, the ministry statement added.

The total cost of the project is $112 million, with the AFD contributing to $43 million through a soft loan and the EU NIF providing $15 million, the ministry said, noting that the EIB is the leading financer of the project.

The EIB’s loan will help treat and convey 30 million cubic metres per year of fresh water from the King Abdullah Canal in the northern Jordan Valley to the Zabda Reservoir which serves Irbid, some 80km north of Amman, according to an EIB statement.

“Jordan attaches great importance to the signing of the two loan agreements,” Fakhoury said at the signing ceremony, noting that the projects are timely, addressing two priority sectors.

He thanked the EIB for its support.

“The EIB has significantly contributed [to] assisting Jordan in its development efforts over the past years via supporting key sectors such as mining, industry, water, education, and energy in addition to private sector operations. Jordan is determined to further cooperate with the bank in the coming period…” the minister added.