Jordan and EBRD sign host country agreement

By Nibal Zgheib

The EBRD has signed an agreement with the Jordanian authorities that allows the Bank to set up a permanent representation in Jordan.

In a separate step that also underlines the EBRD’s support for the country’s economic development, Dr Heike Harmgart has been appointed the first head of the EBRD’s office in Amman.

Hildegard Gacek, Managing Director for the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region said: “This agreement marks the beginning of a long-term cooperation between the Bank and Jordan. The permanent representation will play a key role in the implementation of the EBRD’s projects.”

The EBRD began investing in Jordan in September 2012, responding to calls from the international community that saw the development bank begin to extend its remit to four countries in the SEMED region.

In Jordan, the Bank will focus on supporting private companies, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), restructuring and strengthening the financial sector, promoting energy efficiency and a sustainable energy sector, as well as facilitating non-sovereign financing for infrastructure.

Before her appointment as Jordan’s Head of Office, Ms Harmgart was a senior economist at the EBRD, with responsibility for Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan. She was also the EBRD lead for the first G-8 Deauville transition fund project on "Reliable Quality Water for Jordan" –   a US$ 1.5 million grant to help Jordan improve the quality and reliability of its municipal water provision . Together with Gilles Mettetal (Director for Agribusiness) she launched the EBRD’s “Private Sector for Food Security” initiative in 2011, with a special focus on improving global food chains between the traditional transition region and the SEMED countries.

A German national, Ms Harmgart holds a PhD degree in economics from University College London.