Jordan, US sign IT grant agreement

The United States signed a US $417,252 grant agreement with Jordan on August 20, 2002, reported the Jordan Times.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  August 21, 2002

The United States signed a US $417,252 grant agreement with Jordan on August 20, 2002, reported the Jordan Times.

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will fund a technical team responsible for planning the liberalisation of the Kingdom's fixed-line telephone services and the expiration of Jordan Telecom's monopoly on fixed-lines, which will end on December 31, 2004.

In December 2001, USTDA provided a US $268,099 grant to Jordan for technical assistance to examine wireless sector market liberalization as well as the deployment, development and licensing of advanced wireless technology.

The technical team will assess the current economic, financial, and regulatory conditions of the telecommunications sector in Jordan, in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT). It will also make suggestions for implementing a transition strategy once Jordan Telecom's fixed-line monopoly expires.

US Ambassador Edward Gnehm, Minister of Planning Bassem Awadallah and ICT Minister Fawaz Zu'bi were present at the signing ceremony.

The USTDA has approved over $1 million worth of grants to various sectors in this fiscal year alone, according to Gnehm, reported the Jordan Times. "The USTDA is also moving towards improving Jordanian's standard of living and creating job opportunities," said Gnehm.

Awadallah noted US support in the Kingdom's various sectors, and stressed its importance in liberalising the Jordanian economy.

Founded in 1990, the USTDA, a semi-independent US government agency, began projects in the Kingdom in 1996.

The agency provides technical assistance, specialised studies and training in developing middle-income countries. It further promotes capacity building initiatives and supports US government trade and economic policy and development objectives around the world.

USTDA funding in Africa and the Middle East for 2001 was approximately $10 million of all TDA program expenditures. From 1981 to 2000 US $1.7 billion in U.S. exports have been attributed to TDA activities in Africa and the Middle East.

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