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Qatar pledges 10,000 jobs, $500 mn in investment for Jordan

Jordanian protesters chant slogans during an anti-austerity rally, on June 6, 2018, in front of the Labor Union offices in Amman
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)

Qatar pledged Wednesday to create 10,000 jobs for Jordanians on the territory of the energy-rich Gulf state, as well as invest $500 million in the kingdom hit by anti-austerity protests.

The announcement came two days after Qatar's rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates made a $2.5-billion pledge to Jordan in conjunction with Kuwait.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani visited Amman on Wednesday, where he met Jordan's King Abdullah II.

"Ten thousand jobs will be provided in Qatar to the Jordanian youth to help them achieve their aspirations and contribute to supporting the economy of their homeland," his ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also announced $500 million would be earmarked to support infrastructure and tourism projects in Jordan.

Mass protests against price rises and a proposed tax hike have rocked Jordan in recent days as the government pushes austerity measures to slash the country's debt in the face of an economic crisis.

The lifelines offered by the Gulf states reflects fears that the protests that shook Jordan could spread to their doorsteps.

The latest announcement by Doha also is indicative of the continuing Gulf political dispute, which has often manifested in competitions to maintain alliances in the region and beyond.

Jordan blames its economic woes on instability rocking the region and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from war-torn Syria, complaining it has not received enough international support.

The World Bank says Jordan has "weak growth prospects" this year, while 18.5 percent of the working age population is unemployed.

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