The report Jordan is the most comprehensive
economic, political and business review of Jordan ever compiled. It explains in-depth
the domestic and foreign political scene, macroeconomic policy and sectoral developments
and includes unique statistical forecasting.
The 200 page research is over 100 000 words in length, supported by charts, graphs and key economic data to highlight trends allowing readers a unique insight into the country.
Written by team of international analysts based on the ground for six months, and the result of over 300 public and private sector interviews, The report Jordan is simply the most extensive independent, unbiased and accurate intelligence available.
ISSN (Online): 1744-4454
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The kingdom has remained a beacon of stability despite the events unfolding around it over the past several years. Following the upheaval of 2005, the cabinet was reshuffled, gaining a new agenda more focused on security as well as domestic economic development. Good relations with neighbouring Iraq, Syria and other countries remain a high priority, with Jordan often volunteering to mediate in any sensitive regional disputes. Also featured are interviews with Marouf Bakhit, Prime Minister of Jordan, Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Mustafa Hamarneh, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies and James Phillips, Analyst at Heritage Foundation Middle East.
Considering the periodic instability throughout the Middle East region and a lack of natural resources, the economy is performing reasonably well. Foreign aid assistance, a financial climate that lends itself to both foreign and domestic investment, and an influx of liquidity from the Gulf are casting a positive outlook for the long term. Yet with such a young population, steady job growth will be crucial if Jordan is to sustain the improvement seen in 2005, and nearby upheaval could discourage tourists and businesspeople. In this section OBG interviews Ziad Fariz, Minister of Finance, Mustapha Kamel Nabli, Chief Economist, MENA region, World Bank and Maen Nsour,CEO, Jordan Investment Board.
Despite the correction on the ASE in early 2006, local banks have successfully managed to rack up impressive profits, turning to new opportunities in retail and commercial lending. Banks are steadily increasing their reserves in line with new government regulations, and many are now looking to expand into untapped markets across the region. At home, microfinance is also booming. This chapter also includes interviews with Umayya Toukan, Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan and Ziyad Akrouk, General Manager of Citigroup.
Despite setbacks in 2006, the Amman Stock Exchange is showing signs of improvement. The ASE correction and the conflict in Lebanon took their toll, but the economy continues to grow based on strength gained from previous years. Although expectations for the remainder of 2006 remain modest, all indicators are that the Jordanian market will continue to prosper in the years to come. Also in this section, an interview with Samir Jaradat, CEO of the Securities Depository Centre, as well as a viewpoint article from Yaser al-Nimr, Senior Analyst at Atlas Investment Group.
The past year may prove to have been a watershed for the insurance industry. The cumulative effects of new rules coming into force, regulations both newly drafted and on the horizon, and some welcome investment returns are priming the industry for change. Also in this section, OBG takes a look at professional liability insurance, which, while seen as essential to professionals in many other countries, is not commonly employed in Jordan.
Long a stronghold of strict government control, Jordanian transportation has begun to feel the effects of privatisation, with state run institutions being privatised, public-sector partnerships being formed and the legal framework being loosened. Also featured in this section, OBG takes a look at what is being done to improve Amman’s public transportation system, as well as interviews with Saoud Nsairat, Minister of Transport and Rudain Kawar, Chairman, Jordan Shipping Agents Association.
With oil prices rising, Jordan’s bills for energy imports are mounting ever higher, prompting the government to think creatively about alternatives. The kingdom is now looking to renewables, a gas deal with Egypt, its own reserves of shale oil and even technologies to turn organic waste into natural gas. In the electricity market, privatisation finally looks to be on the cards, though investors may not rush to buy.
At the cradle of civilisation, Jordan does not lack tourist attractions. From cultural and religious sites to health spas at the Dead Sea, its wealth of sightseeing opportunities continues to make tourism a mainstay of the economy. Yet regional instability has kept some potential foreign visitors away. The key for Jordan will be to ride out the turmoil next door while attracting international investment. This chapter also features an interview with Munir Nassar, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.
CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE
The building sector has been active of late, with massive Gulf-style resort, industrial, housing and retail developments proliferating in the country’s major cities. Contractors are straining to find enough workers and building supplies, even as real estate prices are skyrocketing.
TELECOMS & IT
It has been a busy period for the telecoms market. With foreign mobile service providers making some big purchases and several new names on the scene, the good times have rolled for consumers – and industry players too. In fact, Jordan’s telecoms market is currently the most competitive in the whole of the Middle East. And, with more room for growth ahead, this really is one sector that is upwardly mobile. OBG interviews Peter Kaliaropoulos, CEO, Batelco, and Omar al-Kurdi, Minister of Information and Communications Technology.
OBG offers an overview of the country’s industrial development over the recent years, with a look at its strengths, namely its good infrastructure, well educated workforce, its forward looking administration and excellent relations with the US, as well as some of the factors which have hindered its growth. Also in this section, analyses of the country’s pharmaceutical industry and agricultural sector, as well as an interview with Sharif Ali Zu’bi, Minister of Industry and Trade.
Emerging Jordan 2006 also features an overview of Aqaba. This sleepy port town, strategically located on the Red Sea, has been fought over for centuries. Over the past several years, however, substantial investment has been pumped into Aqaba, funding a number of construction projects ranging from a dedicated industrial zone to huge luxury resorts and a redevelopment of the city’s valuable waterfront. This section also features an interview with Imad Fakhoury, Chairman and CEO of Aqaba Development Company.
MEDIA & ADVERTISING
Privatisation is the main headline of the day, as broadcast media follow the lead of the magazines and newspapers that have been filling news-stands of late. With a variety of vibrant titles reflecting a range of viewpoints, the country will now be tuned in to see if terrestrial/satellite station ATV will continue print media’s trend of liberalisation on the airwaves.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
With strong backing from the government and foreign donor agencies, Jordan has created a top-notch healthcare system. Developed-world health problems are becoming an increasing concern, though, as is the country’s shortage of nurses. The government looks set to keep investing in the sector, especially as health tourism is now becoming a lucrative market. Also featured in this section, OBG offers an overview of measures taken by the Jordanian government to ensure higher standards of education as well as the overall employability of its newly graduated.
OBG takes an unconventional approach to outlining the nation’s history in this section by focusing on the country’s postage stamps. As in much of the world over, Jordan’s stamps are meant to symbolise the country and provide an outlet through which it can paint a picture of itself for its citizens as well as audiences abroad. As such, they offer a glimpse of what the country wanted to tell the world about itself across the span of its national history.
THE BUSINESS GUIDE
In the accountancy review, OBG’s accountancy partner in Jordan Ernst & Young, offers a look at some of the country’s business laws and regulations, with a viewpoint article from Bishr Baker, partner at Ernst & Young, on deep discount rights issues. In the legal review, OBG’s legal partner in Jordan, Ali Sharif Zu’bi Law Office, provides an overview of employment laws as well as the types of companies that can be registered in Jordan. Also featured in this section, an interview with Khaled Asfour, Managing Partner, Ali Sharif Zu’bi & Sharif Ali Zu’bi Law Office.
OBG offers some local sights and sounds with a look at Petra, the “city of stone”, as well as the capital city of Amman with its many attractions. Also featured in this section are top restaurant reviews and hotel listings, plus a profile of Architect Rasem Badran, his design philosophy and current projects.
OBG offers a comprehensive directory of government offices, chambers of commerce, foreign embassies, health services, airlines, travel agencies shipping companies, banks and useful links.
FACTS FOR VISITORS
Here one can find some useful tips for business travellers covering currency, visas, language, communications, dress, business hours, electricity, transport and health.