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Jordan’s economy benefits from a well-educated population, strategic location, world heritage tourism sites and a reputation for stability in a turbulent region. The economy grew steadily from 1999 to 2008 as the government advanced economic reform alongside social and political development, but the global economic crisis undermined progress by reducing the demand for exports, remittances from expatriate Jordanians, tourism revenues and foreign direct investment. In addition, increases in population, water scarcity, and the near total reliance on imported energy have created economic challenges. The rapidly growing population of refugees from Syria since 2011 further stresses resources.
Jobs are scarce outside large cities and are not created fast enough to absorb a young and growing workforce whose education and skills often do not match labor market needs. Business development is hampered by insufficient access to capital and innovation, as well as regulatory challenges.
USAID’s economic programs in Jordan have grown over the years from building roads to building a more diverse and globally competitive economy. Over the past decade, we supported macroeconomic reforms and deficit reduction, promoted trade, investment and job creation, enhanced competitiveness of the private sector, created new jobs and developed workforce skills.
Our programs continue to focus on ensuring that resources and economic benefits are equally shared among all, including Jordan’s poor, women and youth. An ongoing cash transfer program improves Jordan’s fiscal stability and creditworthiness.
Examples of USAID-supported impacts in economic growth and trade include:
- Facilitated Jordan’s accession to the World Trade Organization and its use of the Jordan – U.S. Free Trade Agreement to increase trade and exports for both countries.
- Assisted in the creation of more than 70,000 jobs by improving Jordan’s productivity levels in such sectors as tourism, IT, packaging, and medical and financial services.
- Prepared hundreds of thousands of students (over 90,000 in 2011 alone) for the job market through a nationwide entrepreneurship program, vocational training in the tourism-hospitality sectors, and internships and regional job fairs for recent graduates.
Last updated: November 04, 2013