Advising on Jordan's Special Development Areas Law

Jordan's Development Areas. Image courtesy of the Jordan Investment Board and the OECD.

From 2007 to 2008, Locus founder and CEO Jean-Paul Gauthier advised the Government of Jordan on the drafting of its law establishing special development areas, including the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area (Mafraq), the Irbid Development Area, the Ma'an Development Area, and the King Hussein Business Park. Jean-Paul also helped develop extensive market demand assessments for the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area to identify ideal industry sectors to target, and drafted laws, regulations, interagency MoUs and SLAs for the program's implementation.

Jean-Paul's work built off his extensive involvement in the formation of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone from 2001-2005. The program intended to replicate and cascade the benefits of this zone, as well as of the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs).

His work on the development areas law was conducted while serving as a Senior Legal Advisor with Deloitte Consulting.

Following Mr. Gauthier’s legal drafting work for the regime, in 2008, the Government formally established Development Zones (DZs), governed by the Development Zones Commission (DZC). In 2010, Industrial Estates and Free Zones were brought under the oversight of the DZC, which was renamed the Development Zones and Free Zones Commission (DFZC), and Industrial Estates were thereafter also treated as DZs. Investment Law (No. 30) of 2014 later established the Jordan Investment Commission (JIC), merging the DZFC with the Jordan Investment Board (JIB) and Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO). As of 2016, there were 16 designated DZs in the Kingdom, of which 8 operational ones. Of those established after the 2006 DZs initiative was launched, the operational zones include the King Hussein Bin-Talal DZ in Mafraq and Ma’an DZ, both established by 2007, the Dead Sea DZ in Madaba, established in 2009, and the King Hussain Business Park DZ and Al-Mwqar DZ in Amman, both established in 2010. 3 older industrial estates (Sahab Industrial Estate in Amman, Al Hassan Industrial Estate in Irbid and Al Hussein Bin Adballah Industrial Estate in Karak) are also now operating DZs. Today, Al-Hussein Bin Abdullah IE hosts 34 companies, with investments worth over $66 million and employing nearly 4,600 workers. Al-Hassan IE hosts more than 154 companies, with a total invested capital of over $690 million, having created nearly 37,000 jobs. Sahab IE hosts more than 467 SMEs, employing nearly 16,000 workers, with a total investment of nearly $2 billion. As of December 2017, agreements were signed to turn Mafraq’s King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area into an inland logistics hub for rebuilding Syria and Iraq.