King: Jordan-UK historical bonds developed into true partnership

12 March 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday said that Jordan and the United Kingdom enjoy historical bonds, which were laid by his Majesty the late King Hussein and developed into true partnership.

King Abdullah added that these relations have resulted in many active collaborative opportunities in various fields.

His Majesty stressed that the visit of the Prince of Wales to the Kingdom reflected the depth of relations between the two countries and provided an opportunity to further improving relations and cooperation between Jordan and the United Kingdom.

The King highlighted the memorandum of understanding signed between the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) and the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation, emphasising its importance in developing the skills of Jordanian youth and enhancing their ability to be active participants in the political and economic arenas.

Under the MoU, the two sides are to exchange expertise and support youth entrepreneurship. The King and Prince Charles attended the signing ceremony.

His Majesty said the Kingdom highly appreciates the strong support that the UK is providing to foster Jordanian entrepreneurship and innovation.

He added that collaboration between KAFD and the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation will support innovation in the Kingdom, and enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to prosper progress and provide new job opportunities.

Prince Charles stressed the strength of the relationship between Jordan and the UK, saying that His Majesty’s remarks regarding the historical relations between the two Royal families were deeply touching, voicing appreciation for the warm welcome that he received in Jordan.

The prince recalled his previous visit to the Kingdom in 2004, saying that the considerable development in Jordan’s business sector was obvious.

He emphasised the need to create jobs for youths and support SMEs to help Jordanians cope with the difficult economic conditions and challenges they face.

Prince Charles said it was essential to provide start-up companies with financial and technical support and guidance, and to assist existing businesses expand their operations.

He noted that the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation has provided support for around 80,000 enterprises around the world over 30 years. The Jordan-based Oasis500 is one of the beneficiaries, the British royal said.

Prince Charles commended the performance of the King Abdullah II Fund for Development, noting that the MoU between the foundation and the fund reflected the shared goals of both organisations.

The prince said Jordan has the ability to overcome challenges, thanks to its highly qualified human resources, talented youth and advanced education system.

He also noted that Jordan contributes over 70 per cent of Arabic internet from the region and commended Jordan’s highly developed ICT sector.

He praised the work of Jordanian companies like Oasis500, which support start-ups and help them materialise creative entrepreneurial ideas into full-fledged businesses.

Participants in the conference discussed the opportunities available for youths and the role of small- and medium-sized companies in economic and social development, in addition to the role non-profit organisations can play in supporting entrepreneurial activities and start-ups.

Representatives from several local and British banks and firms presented social responsibility programmes they offer to youth and local communities, and discussed the role of financiers in funding start-ups and SMEs.

The event highlighted KAFD’s experience in supporting youths and its initiatives to boost the participation of young people in political life. The experience of Oasis500 in the empowerment of youths and entrepreneurs was also discussed during the conference.

Chris West, director of Shell Foundation, said there was considerable cooperation between Jordan and Britain in various fields, stressing the importance of empowering Jordanian companies so as to increase their achievements and contribution to domestic and international economic growth.

West announced that Shell Foundation will support partnerships with the Jordanian business community to achieve higher growth rates, create employment opportunities, develop local communities and boost entrepreneurship.

He added that the Kingdom was an important market for Shell, which has successful investments in the country due to its high level of stability and security.

Oasis500 Chief Executive Officer Usama Fayyad highlighted the support his organisation receives from the British embassy in Amman to provide training to youths, particularly in the governorates outside the capital.

The Arab-British partnership programme, Fayyad said, has offered $500,000 worth of financial support providing youth training, indicating that Prince Charles has expressed admiration for the Jordanian experience in this field.