October 22, 2006
Bedou Scum & Destination Aqaba - Incentives and Disincentives to Investment
A peculiar article from The Financial Times on a new emergence of little old Aqaba, that almost famous Ottoman fort, "Incentives make Jordanian port investor haven".
Never liked the place myself, but more interesting than the somewhat hypish headline is the discussion of barriers:
But despite Aseza's best efforts to streamline red tape and a liberal attitude towards foreign labour, businesses speak of some difficulties in the Aqaba economic zone, which is separated from the rest of Jordan by border controls.
"The regulatory environment is not great but not worse compared with Israel or Turkey, although Jordan shouldn't be satisfied because it doesn't have those countries' advantages," said a western businessman who did not want to be named.
"For example, it's impossible to have a contract to sell land between two individuals unless it's lodged at the land registry under an antiquated law dating from the Ottomans, which can prevent proper financing arrangements.
"Planning procedures can also be held up by workers' guilds and associations. This is bad for economic development and could be changed but the king and government don't appear to want the political fight," he said.
In the Maghreb they call this, the intervention of workers' guilds and associations in all kinds of ridiculous subjects, "social solidarity and dialogue" - more often it is rent extraction by the leadership of the said "social organisations."
Two more vignettes:
Meanwhile, businesses have to take into account the conservative culture. One real estate developer, who tries to limit the number of devout Muslims in a luxury development, said: "The hijab and bikini don't really go together."
Given the reluctance of Jordanians to take jobs in construction, many companies hire workers from Egypt or as far afield as Bangladesh.
The reluctance of the Bedouine to become labourers when they get the least bit of wealth always has puzzled me. It's something very Bedou. Strange on the part of dirt-poor scum, but such is the Bedou tribalism.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
"The hijab and bikini don't really go together."
Yeah - this is Dubai's problem. And it's only going to get worse, especially as Ramadan moves into the Euro summer holiday season over the next few years.
Posted by: secretdubai at October 22, 2006 10:27 PM
Hold on. "Summer" holiday?
Posted by: Ali K at October 23, 2006 05:05 AM
Ignore that. I don't know how I read 'years' as 'days'
Posted by: Ali K at October 23, 2006 05:11 AM
I don't think I like the tone of the article. I mean starting from the top what kind of a headline is that. Surely the word scum is totally inappropriate and does not do anything rather than irritate, I would like to have had a full-throttle article on Aqaba of facts and information, of developments and then criticism rather than bits and pieces about the city that leaves the reader totally bewildered about its aim. The fact is Aqaba is changing fast, it is developing economically as well as touristically with a lot of investment being pumped into the city. It is natural for this to pose challanges and bottlenecks, but it does not mean to say the city doesn't know where its going. There is already much planning, Aqaba is presently being made into a city for the future. It is receiving a lot of tourists both domestically and internationally, and it is being developed to recieve much more in the future. I would like to see a feature on just how Aqaba is developing now and for the near future and to plot out the pace of change to show how the city is changing.
Posted by: marwan asmar at November 6, 2006 09:11 AM