Turning a corner:

Green practices and digital methods are in focus as Jordan moves ahead on a new mid-term economic development agenda with the aim of attracting new investment to support double-digit growth in manufacturing, electricity, water, transportation, ICT and construction. Combined with fiscal reforms, this strategy is expected to double GDP expansion by 2022, pushing the kingdom to become a regional leader in post-oil economic development. Regulatory reforms aimed at implementing international best practices across banks, capital markets and the insurance industry have been undertaken in the financial services sector, which already benefits from stable, well-capitalised and profitable lenders. However there remains room for improvement, as the majority of the population is still unbanked – with overall financial inclusion low – and many small businesses have difficulty accessing credit.

6 11 17 19 20 21 Jordan in brief From the ground up: Traditions continue to shape modern-day Jordan Legal matters: Reforms focus on improving the judicial branch, addressing corruption and bolstering regional governments Viewpoint: Crown Prince Hussein Interview: Hani Al Mulki, Prime Minister of Jordan Mind the gap: Tax reforms included in plans to bridge the budget deficit 22 24 32 33 36 37 38 39 43 54 55 58 59 60 63 72 73 75 Interview: Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Turning a corner: A new national strategy is poised to reinvigorate growth Interview: Omar Malhas, Minister of Finance Moving on up: Improving rankings on international indices seen as key to unlocking private investment Interview: Muhannad Shehadeh, Minister of State for Investment Affairs Getting the green light: State strategies look to foster renewable energy development Tackling the deficit: Budget balance given a boost by higher tax revenues Interview: Abdulwahab Al Bader, DirectorGeneral, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Steady trajectory: Ongoing reforms and new programmes are driving progress Interview: Ziad Fariz, Governor, Central Bank of Jordan Electronic solutions: The central bank is partnering with local entrepreneurs to develop financial technology offerings Power of bonds: Sharia-compliant lenders offer alternative financing Interview: Iyad Asali, General Manager, Islamic International Arab Bank Interview: Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO, Arab Bank Energising new tactics: The sector is increasingly turning to private development and renewable sources to power the nation Interview: Saleh Kharabsheh, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Bright horizons: The solar segment continues to offer development opportunities Pooling resources: Multiple approaches being pursued to increase the water supply and meet growing demand Greater investment of both time and money into local, regional and international transport networks is expected, with King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein underscoring the importance of building and maintaining effective transit systems. Major public transport projects are currently under way, along with continued expansion of land and sea links. In terms of policy and regulation, new laws are expected to bring much-needed reform.

79 86 87 89 93 On the move: Projects are under way to enhance and rehabilitate key links Interview: Kjeld Binger, CEO, Airport International Group Up and away: Airports and the flag carrier position themselves for expansion and competition Off the beaten track: The rail system looks to move beyond domestic freight haul Forward momentum: The growing coastal city continues to attract investment As the only seaport city in Jordan, Aqaba plays an important role in the country’s economy. Since the decision to turn the coastal city and its surroundings into a special economic zone was announced in 2001, it has grown in significance as both an economic base and a tourist destination. The city has a long tradition of being a regional centre for trade, going back to 4000 BCE, and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone is serving as the catalyst for its recent large-scale expansion.

101 102 104 110 117 126 127 129 137 148 150 155 156 All hands on deck: Port upgrades and expansion programmes for related facilities are set to support growth Interview: Nasser Shraideh, Chief Commissioner, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Laying the foundations: A new labour pool and higher standards should position the sector to meet increasing domestic and regional demand Balancing act: Strategies aim to meet rising real estate demand while boosting affordable options Regional rebound: Government policy and improving conditions are set to boost manufacturing and international trade Interview: Yarub Qudah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Best foot forward: The established textiles, garments and accessories segment pushes ahead into new markets Setting sale: The market is shifting as modern retail grows in influence Return to growth: New attractions and international connections encourage visitors and foreign investment Interview: Lina Annab, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities A major contributor: Strategies target transformation into a digital economy and leading regional centre Interview: Ghazi Al Jobor, CEO, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Getting connected: Initiatives to expand e-government services support the ongoing digital transformation 159 164 170 171 172 177 182 184 190 192 198 200 Stable and expanding: Existing advantages, ongoing reforms and a mid-term strategy are helping to keep the industry dynamic and robust Learning curve: Comprehensive reforms and comparative advantages provide a solid base for a sector facing financial concerns Interview: Labib Khadra, President, Al Hussein Technical University Smart learning: National strengths in ICT and a series of new initiatives are driving technology use among students and teachers in the classroom and online On the job: Development and promotion of technical and vocational training key to improving employment rates EY Encouraging investment: A more responsive and efficient tax regime is incentivising investment Viewpoint: Osama Shakhatreh, Assurance Partner, Ernst & Young Jordan Zu’bi Advocates & Legal Consultants Fostering best practice: Reforms enacted to boost consumer and environmental protection Viewpoint: Khaled Asfour, Managing Partner, Zu’bi Advocates & Legal Consultants Beauty sleep: Accommodation options in popular areas across the country, from bustling cities to historical sites Listings: Telephone directory of helpful public and private entities to add peace of mind to your stay Facts for visitors: Useful practical and cultural information for both business and leisure travellers The government’s new focus on transport and infrastructure development points to potential construction growth in the near to medium term. Any investment in these areas will be welcome, as in recent years austerity measures and higher taxes have constrained sector development, in many cases leading to the postponement of key projects. The manufacturing, mining, quarrying and construction sectors collectively accounted for around one-fifth of GDP in 2016. Stable figures have been achieved in recent years despite adverse regional events. This continued expansion and development is a testament to the resilience and strength of local entrepreneurs, workers and policymakers. With desert landscapes alongside natural and man-made wonders, tourism is a key pillar of the economy. Visitors flock to Jordan to see the ancient city of Petra, take in holy sites for Christians, Jews and Muslims, and bathe in the Dead Sea. Marketing strategies are in place to further develop niche segments, such as adventure, film and medical tourism. A regional leader in service delivery and speciality care, Jordan’s health sector benefits from a large skilled workforce; a high-quality, low-cost medical tourism segment; and a robust pharmaceuticals manufacturing base. Expenditure on health care has risen consistently over the last decade, supporting strong improvements in indicators and outcomes.


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