Jordan is turning a new page after years of setbacks, its prime minister said Thursday during an international conference dedicated to investment in the Middle Eastern country.
"We've had one shock after the other, whether in terms of oil, refugees, closure of borders," Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz told CNBC's Hadley Gamble in London. "But we're now moving toward a very different trajectory which is all about growth, about opportunities."
The event, attended by international business leaders and entitled "Jordan: Growth and Opportunity, the London Initiative 2019," stems from a partnership launched by Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017 aimed at supporting economic and social reform and growth in Jordan.
May on Thursday called on investors to support the Kingdom of Jordan during the London conference meant to boost economic and social progress in the Middle Eastern country and longtime British ally.
Once boasting economic growth averaging 6.5 percent annually, Jordan's fortunes took a sharp downward turn from 2008 onward as the global financial crisis, then the Arab Spring fallout, and border closures with vital trade partners Syria and Iraq crippled economic activity. Unemployment is at a 25-year high of 18 percent, and growth sits at a mere 2 percent.
As part of its commitment to Jordan, which May stressed as vital to ensuring stability in an unstable region, the prime minister announced that the U.K. will underwrite a $250 million World Bank loan to Jordan to help it manage its mounting national debt. The confidence demonstrated by the U.K. move is hoped to encourage further international investment.
The event's attendees also included U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, EU Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini, and a number of foreign ministers and CEOs.