Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of welcoming Ms. Nourah Mehyar, the CEO of Nafith Logistics in Jordan, to the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Ms. Mehyar was in Washington, D.C. to accept the inaugural Gender CEO Award from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
Ms. Mehyar told me that when she began working at Nafith, her goal was to improve Jordan’s trade processes using innovative technologies. We at USTDA are proud to have advanced this goal. In fact, we’re proud to have helped Nafith get its start.
Several years ago, the Agency supported a pilot project to demonstrate how technology could improve the flow of freight traffic at the Port of Aqaba, Jordan’s sole seaport. That project, led by U.S. technology provider NTELX (Vienna, Virginia), established Nafith, or the National Freight Information Transportation Hub. Nafith was created to provide a data-driven system to enhance the efficiency and strengthen the security of Jordan’s transport and trade sectors. By utilizing NTELX’s technology, Nafith has become one of Jordan’s leading intelligent transportation providers.
Nafith has implemented a Truck Control System (TCS) – the largest e-government system in Jordan and, likely, in the region – to minimize wait times and process trucks quickly and smoothly through the Port of Aqaba and its terminals. The TCS has helped to synthesize information from several industry and government databases, ultimately decreasing transportation costs by an estimated 20%, reducing congestion and pollution, and even helping to prevent accidents.
Using Jordan as a model, Nafith launched a similar effort in Iraq, building and managing a system to regulate trucks passing through three ports in the Basra region and across the Kuwaiti border.
Ms. Mehyar attributes Nafith’s progress to a number of factors, and she specifically pointed to the organization’s diverse, talented staff. One of her goals as CEO was to create an environment of equality within her organization. As Nafith has expanded to 300 staff, Ms. Mehyar has worked to make sure that women have a fair shot. The success of Nafith demonstrates what we at USTDA also know: Gender equality is a key component of any organization’s success.
As Nafith continues to grow, I am sure they will continue working with their partners to create new trade and employment opportunities in Jordan, Iraq and beyond. USTDA is pleased to have helped Nafith and NTELX make such a significant impact on trade in the region. I look forward to hearing of all their future accomplishments.
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Leocadia I. Zak was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate as the Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which helps U.S. businesses create jobs through the export of their goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.