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France wants to be top investor in Jordan, says president

Jordan has largely avoided the violence and instability that has brought its neighbors Syria and Iraq near collapse

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France wishes to be the top investor in Jordan, its President François Hollande said on Tuesday, boosting the European power’s trading position with the small Middle Eastern kingdom up several places.

“France is currently the sixth largest investor in Jordan but this spot is not good enough for us… we want to move up the ladder,” Hollande told an economic conference in the Jordanian capital on his visit there.

France is currently the largest non-Arab investor in Jordan, with close to 20 French firms there employing several thousand locals, the English-language daily Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.

During the one-day visit, where Hollande met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the president announced a total of $1.1 billion (900 million euros) worth of French aid over three years for the kingdom, mostly in the form of low-cost loans.

At the Amman forum, Hollande expressed confidence in Jordan’s economy.

“We see the political, administrative and political reforms Jordan has made recently as very important,” the French president said.

While land-locked and far behind its rich allies in the Gulf, Jordan has largely avoided the violence and instability that has brought its neighbors, Syria and Iraq, near collapse in recent times.