PBI Aqaba Chief Executive says competitive edge feeds growth

Problem solving encourages investors

PBI Aqaba Chief Executive says competitive edge feeds growth

Rome, April 17 - In a moment of widespread economic sluggishness, investors tend to hunker down, not take risks and mostly, to avoid problems. That is when the business savvy enters stage left, opening the doors that make investing easy and worth it. In short, problem-solving pays. For PBI Aqaba Chief Executive Sheldon Fink, that competitive edge is what has given his Aqaba International Industrial Estate (AIIE) - a unique development located in the southern Jordanian coastal city Aqaba - the wind beneath its wings. Even in a moment of global slowdown. "We are competitive...very competitive," the Pennsylvania-born, 40-years-abroad executive told ANSA. "And we know how to solve investors' problems," Fink said. PBI Aqaba operates in Aqaba Special Economic Zone with the support of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). It has available for development 1.7 million square meters of property. That is up from the original 2003 tender of 600,000 square meters. Actual development today has reached about 800,000 M2. What started as an expanse of desert and an initial one million dollars down on a six million dollar investment, has grown steadily. Today, the PBI Aqaba investment is the seed money for a total investment of $180 million, partly by USAID but mostly by private-sector factories and businesses. "If the world economy stays the way it is, we will double. If it improves, we could grow three to four times," Fink said. Fink envisions the Red Sea port town as blossoming into an ever-more sought-out investment zone. "There is certainly a resort and tourism drive, but its port and commercial assets make it more comparable to a city like Genoa than to Sharm-al-Sheik," Fink said. Aqaba is a liberalized, low-tax, duty-free area that has its sights on becoming a world-class hub for business and leisure, easily accessible to the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

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