Jordan’s Six Billion Dollar Railway

AMMAN (AFP) — Jordan plans to begin work on a six-billion-dollar railway next year to bolster trade with its neighbours and create jobs for its cash-strapped population, stomach ask Transport Minister Sahl Majali told AFP in an interview. “The 4.5-billion-dinar project is vital to Jordan because it will make freight movement faster and easier, see cut transportation costs and boost trade, case ” Majali said on Tuesday. [source]

Great news!

…”We have already floated several tenders for the project,” he said, with Jordan open to bids from all local, regional or international companies.

Wait a minute…

I wonder if a newly-established company owned by the Transport Minister will win the tender.



  • ya zalameh that’s good news. Let’s enjoy it while it is here and let the usual disappoint adventure take its normal jordanian path. I know you’re the master of cynicism bas it’s too early to kill the hope! Let’s just hope whoever gets the contract is competent enough to get the job done within budget.

    And from an economic point of view, that’s fantastic news all around..

  • SF: I have no problem with the project as I pointed out in the post. I think it’s a wonderful idea and it will help change the economic landscape of the country. But I also thought the decent living project was an equally wonderful idea.

    The public official who was in charge of the latter is now in charge of the former, and is the same public official who is allegedly involved in a corruption scandal regarding the latter.

    In other words, even great and wonderful ideas require transparency.

    This is no different.

  • I agree with you 100%. Transparency is a must and obviously the track record of this guy “alledgedly” isn’t great. But the accusations are still “alleged” and he still has his job. Now i don’t know the facts about the decent living issue adn whether this guy is being investigated but i guess i’m just against personal jabs before the guy is proven guilty or proven to have acted unethically – – has he?

  • Over six billion dollars? That’s 20% of the country’s entire 2008 GDP…being spent on a railway? For comparison, that’s like the United States or the EU building a railway that costs in excess of $2.5trillion.

    And it’s incurring debt to pay for this, so in the end it’s going to cost significantly more — interest hurts. Figure that in, total costs could well be double that 6-billion dollar estimate. Clearly for a low-trade, high-aid-dependent, third-world country such as Jordan this is just crazy; right?

    Especially when there’s a way you can get this railway, for, wait for it…FREE!

    That’s right. The Chinese Government are the new British Empire when it comes to building railways: up and down Africa they’ve been building rail tracks and setting up trains to shuttle natural resources out of countries.

    So, Your Majesty: call the Chinese, ask them to build your railway in exchange for first refusal rights on all uranium deposits (present and future-discovered) in Jordan, as well as any other natural resources you have lying around*. The Chinese will be happy to accept natural resource access to fuel their economy, plus they’ll ship in a bunch of their own people, building to a higher spec’, for a fraction of the cost and they’ll do it infinity-times faster than the Jordanian Government will do it themselves — and nearly corruption free!

    There you go, people of Jordan, I just saved you $10 bill’ with a $20 phone call. (Tip: use Skype to call for free!)

    *And offer discounted flights from Shanghai to Amman with RJ, as well as free entry to Jordan and all Jordan’s historical sights to Chinese citizens. As well as an Understanding that Jordan will give Chinese companies “Special Consideration” on all future Tenders, etc, etc…

Your Two Piasters: