Syria’s civil war has lasted almost four years, and those who fled the country are facing the prospect it could continue go on longer. Some are setting up businesses in neighboring countries – sometimes re-locating entire enterprises. CCTV’s Stephanie Freid reported this story from Jordan.
Syrian civil war forces business owners to relocateSyria's civil war has lasted almost four years, and those who fled the country are facing the prospect it could continue go on longer. Some are setting up businesses in neighboring countries - sometimes re-locating entire enterprises. CCTV's Stephanie Freid reported this story from Jordan.
30 percent of Jordan’s economy is industry-driven dominated by petroleum refinery, cement production, food processing and textile manufacturing.
In Amman’s industrial zone, there is a plastics factory that was set up three years ago. It is owned and operated by a Syrian businessman forced by fighting to flee his hometown Aleppo in 2012.
It’s a “duplicate” of his operation back home – an increasingly common fixture in Jordan as Syrian entrepreneurs, backed by investors, flock to set up shop in Jordan.
“We bring our workers with us and we can depend on other Jordanian workers, we also we bring our clients with us,” Syrian factory owner, Abdul Hazef Mouaffak said.
By local law, 40 percent of his 131 member workforce is Jordanian, the rest are Syrian.
Many knew each other back home. This machine operator also owned a plastics factory in Aleppo. Now he’s working for Mouaffak.
Jordan’s Investment Board registered a 40 percent increase in Syrian business investment in the Hashemite Kingdom last year. For business people like Mouaffak, who have families and communities to support, taking a leap of faith was a necessity.
He isn’t bitter that he had to hit the ground running to get the business going here. What he said was a very difficult hurdle for him to overcome: stamping “made in Jordan” rather than “made in Syria” on his products.
Syrian industrialists pine for home, but returning is a remote dream in the wake of Syria’s reality where basic operating necessities such as, electricity, running water and security are no longer available.
“Industrial factories need at least five years to give you back the money you put in. So at minimum this factory will stay in Jordan for 10 years. No less than 10 years,” Mouaffak said.
Jordan’s calm business climate is a breathe of fresh air in a sea of unrest. That makes it attractive to investors and enterprisers. With borders now closed to non-refugees, Mouaffak and others like him were fortunate to create a living within Jordan.
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