King Abdullah II, on the direction of the nation and its increasingly influential role in the region: Viewpoint

King Abdullah II

It is time for a new push, engaging all sectors, to create inclusive growth. This is Jordan’s goal: re-launching growth and investment while deepening reform and inclusion. To this end, public-private partnerships are our building blocks. Our 10-year economic blueprint, Jordan 2025, will enable us to move quickly to diversify resources, develop infrastructure and capitalise on strengths. This plan will be delivered through public and private partnerships and to a large extent through projects of over $18bn to be announced today. Most of these projects are made through public-private partnerships. Some of them are funded by the government, and here I have to thank Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE for their support in many of the development projects in the kingdom through the GCC fund over the past few years.

Jordan is committed to a prosperous future and measures are being strengthened to support start-ups, business expansion and market-ready skills. Business incubators, development zones and new partnerships are supporting industry, innovation and the most important sources of job growth − entrepreneurship and the private sector.

Jordan’s growth is rising again. Higher, steady growth is forecast. This outlook is backed by prudent national economic management, and we are pleased to see the budget deficit down by 15%, and foreign reserves up to the highest level in Jordan’s history. And despite all the challenges that surround us, Jordan was able to grow by more than 3% last year and is expected to grow by close to 4% over this year. This is more than a track record of surmounting challenges. It is a sign of on-going strengths. This is also the message of our on-going reform process. We view this process as a continuous path forward. This year, our Parliament is looking at new municipal elections, de-centralisation and party laws.

So Jordan may be small, but it is rich in terms of its strategic assets. Re-envisioning these assets is vital for our growth. Jordan is a gateway for both regional and world trade and business. We know we have to be ahead of the curve to manage the challenges that we face. For this, we constantly seek to extend what such a gateway can provide for Jordanians and their partners. Not only access to billions of consumers through multiple free trade agreements, but diversifying exports and partners. Not only active connections to global supply chains, but international networks that facilitate small and medium-sized enterprises through financing, partnerships and new markets. These are just a few examples.

Today, Jordan’s gateway has become a conduit for innovation. 75% of the Arabic content on the internet flows from Jordan’s tech sector. ICT exports have flourished. Once-small companies have scaled up, taken global positions and spun off new enterprises. These achievements are to the credit of a young, bilingual and globally aware workforce. They, too, are a gateway to a future without limit.

We also need to find the opportunities presented in challenging times. To define our region by problems and not solutions is to miss huge potential. Rapid urbanisation, education requirements, water scarcity, the need for reliable energy, building health and transport infrastructure; these are critical issues for most countries. But in all of these areas, new approaches and innovative products and services offer unprecedented scope to those who look ahead. In Jordan, we are looking to new projects in urban development, water infrastructure, and a diversified, long-term energy platform. Public-private partnerships are key in bringing all these projects to fruition.

We cannot be side-tracked by the current regional turmoil. We will solve the problems of our region only when we build on its strengths, and encourage security, diplomacy, development and moral leadership.

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King Abdullah II

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The Report: Jordan 2015

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