Jordan's economic revival plan delayed by lack of financing

King Abdullah demands regular reports on progress of plan aiming to double GDP in 10 years

A worker at a factory in the Jordanian city of Karak on June 13, 2022.  AFP
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A plan to revive Jordan's economy has been delayed because of financing issues, the government's spokesman said, after King Abdullah II urged its implementation.

The plan, to create more jobs, expand the middle class and raise living standards in the kingdom, was announced in June.

Jordan's economy has been stagnant for 12 years and unemployment is officially at about 23 per cent.

“There was delay in putting together the executive programme. Part of it is due to a delay in financing,” spokesman Faisal Al Shboul told state television late on Wednesday.

“The government is putting together a credible executive programme and is checking the figures and forecasts so they can be realistically achieved.”

The 123-page plan forecasts doubling Jordan's gross domestic product to $82 billion over the next 10 years, partly by attracting $41 billion of unspecified funding and investment over the period.

It aims to provide jobs for one million young people expected to enter the workforce in the next decade.

A third of Jordan's 10 million population are under the age of 14 and overall income per head is $4,200. The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to grow 2.4 per cent this year, compared with 2.2 per cent in 2021.

The king presided over a cabinet session on Wednesday and instructed Prime Minister Bisher Al Kasawneh to send him a report every three months on how the plan is being executed, the official news agency reported.

“His majesty directed the government to the need of accelerating the executive programme of the economic modernisation vision as soon as possible,” it reported.

It quoted the king as saying that “there are success stories” in Jordan and that the stability of the country has been a major factor behind attracting investment, but that investors still expect a government responsive to their needs.

All significant powers in Jordan lie with the king, while the role of the 26-member cabinet is an administrative one.

The kingdom has had on average a new government every two years since the king succeeded his father, the late King Hussein, in 1999.

King Abdullah replaced eight ministers at the end of last month, in the fifth reshuffle to the government since it was appointed two years ago.

The main portfolios of finance, foreign affairs and interior were not changed.

Updated: November 24, 2022, 1:30 PM