Despite facing a set of extraordinary external and internal challenges over the past several years, the Jordanian economy remained resilient in 2015, with real GDP growth reaching 2.4% that year. The government is working with the IMF to implement fiscal reform policies, supported by low global oil prices, to reduce the kingdom’s fuel import bill, which should have seen GDP growth and major macroeconomic indicators post a moderate improvement in 2016.
When I wrote three months ago about why the economic changes afoot in the Gulf region have taken on a whole new urgency in “The challenge of change: And why it matters this time”, my analysis was very much framed against a background of anything but business as usual.
Jordan has been a bastion of stability in an otherwise volatile region. It largely escaped the throes of the Arab
Spring and, despite economic difficulties, has enacted reforms to meet IMF assistance requirements. However, recent years have seen increasing strain on finances, resulting in mixed – and even contradictory – reactions from business leaders, as can be seen in OBG’s Business Barometer: Jordan CEO Survey, conducted in late 2017. Despite 63% of our more than 100 respondents reporting positive or very positive expectations of local business conditions, 70% say investor confidence in the economy is not improving or definitely not improving.