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For more than a decade, the Government of Jordan (GoJ) has made job creation and economic opportunity a top priority. To create the tens of thousands of new jobs Jordan’s economy needs annually, Jordan’s private sector must compete globally with goods and services produced efficiently and delivered at world-class standards.
A large share of USAID’s economic growth program in Jordan has been committed to enhancing competitiveness by helping to expand the private sector, promoting fuller implementation of recent policy and regulatory reforms for a better investment and business-enabling environment, and boosting the productivity and capacity of strategically targeted sectors that promise the greatest impact in terms of job creation and exports.
Promoting entrepreneurship, business linkages, and greater participation of women and youth in the private sector are related goals. We are supporting initiatives to extend economic opportunities throughout the country, including special economic development zones in Aqaba and other governorates.
Our programs have supported public-private and business-academia partnerships and investments in training, technology and quality management.
The Jordanian private sector is comprised of mainly family-owned, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To innovate and develop quality products and services, they need more access to research and development, new technologies, and credit. USAID has supported these areas and the development of effective business and trade associations to foster closer cooperation among members in working with the government, tracking market trends, and grasping export opportunities. One USAID project is providing both small business loans and training to younger entrepreneurs, especially women, while a new SME project will increase access to credit.
Examples of USAID-supported impacts in economic competitiveness include:
- Reduced minimum capital requirements for new business licenses; encouraged creation of more than 7,500 new small businesses and 22,000 jobs.
- Brought more than $1 billion in new investment into Jordan through economic development zones and targeted sectors since 2006.
- Supported development of an investment pipeline of 500 opportunities, supported by investor advisory services at Jordan Investment Board.
- Created sustainable innovation clusters, or a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a particular field, in such key knowledge economy sectors as Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), clean technology, water conservation, pharmaceuticals contract research, medical services, architecture and engineering.
- Provided training and technical assistance to almost 1,000 firms since 2002, creating jobs and increasing exports.
- Contributed significantly to a nearly 50 percent increase in tourism industry revenues between 2005 and 2012. Tripled revenue in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector since 2006.
- Created a sustainable microfinance industry, which had disbursed loans totaling over $350 million by the end of 2011.
- Introduced more than 650,000 students to entrepreneurship through INJAZ (a Jordanian NGO with programs similar to Junior Achievement in the United States) programs since 1999.
Last updated: November 21, 2013