The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is strategically located in the Middle East. Bound by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea to the south, and the occupied West Bank and Israel to the west. The country has an area of 89,213 square kilometers, Jordan’s natural and ecological diversity is also vast. . The drive from Amman, in the mountains, to the shores of the Dead Sea, is a descent of 1,200m in less than an hour. Most of the land is desert plateau, but the uplands are temperate and the Jordan Valley semitropical. Within Jordan's borders, 19 different plant ecosystems and countless species thrive.
The climate in Jordan is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, with annual average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 C and summertime highs reaching the 40 C in the desert regions. Rainfall averages vary from 50 mm annually in the desert to 800 mm in the northern hills, some of which falls as snow.
Jordan is home to the Dead Sea, which is considered the lowest point on earth lying - 408 meters below the Sea Level. The highest point in Jordan, in contrast, is Jebel Umm El Dami, which lies 1854 meters above sea level.
Population and Economy
Jordan currently has a population of around 6.5 million people, nearly 3 million of which make their home in the capital Amman. Jordan also has a young population; more than 70% of the population is under 30 years of age, which suggests that an investment in youth can be an instrument for national development. Those between the age of 15 and 24 comprise 22% of the population.
Jordan is an upper middle-income country, with a per-capita GNI of US$4,380. The country has limited natural resources, potash and phosphate are its main export commodities, limited agricultural land, and water is severely scarce, as the country ranks as the world’s fourth poorest country in terms of water resources. Services account for more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 75 percent of jobs. As one of the most open economies of the region, Jordan is well integrated with its neighbors through trade, remittances, foreign direct investment (FDI), and tourism.
Jordan is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements.
According to Jordan’s Department of Statistics, 13.1% of the economically active Jordanian population residing in Jordan were unemployed in 2012 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects unemployment rates in 2013 to drop to 12.9%. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. One of the most important factors in the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s.
Tourism is of vital importance to the national economy of Jordan. It is the Kingdom’s largest export sector, its second largest private sector employer, and it’s second highest producer of foreign exchange. Tourism contributes more than $800 million to Jordan’s economy and accounts for approximately 10% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In addition to the country’s political stability, the geography offered makes Jordan an attractive tourism destination. Jordan’s major tourist activities include numerous ancient places including Petra, its unique desert castles and unspoiled natural locations to its cultural and religious sites.
Jordan’s achieved remarkable successes in many fields, including education, health, infrastructure, information technology, industry and tourism. Over the past 10 years, Jordan has pursued structural reforms in education, health. In addition, the Government of Jordan (GoJ) has been working towards social protection systems and subsidy reforms, improving the conditions for greater public private partnerships in infrastructure, and tax reforms, including improvement of tax administration and management.
Jordan has focused on human resources investment, structural reforms. Significant steps have been taken to integrate Jordan into the global economy. Recent actions moving Jordan closer toward a global economy include an association agreement with the European Union in 1999, which was enforced on May 1, 2002; membership in the World Trade Organization in 2000; and a free-trade agreement with the United States in 2001.
The challenges Jordan has been facing did not deter it from building and modernising, its health and educational services. Jordan is proud of its infrastructure, and a major contributor to the Arab information technology revolution. All these achievements were accomplished in an atmosphere of security and stability despite the instability in the region.
Jordan started a comprehensive reform process; the 2013 parliamentary elections constituted a landmark in the reform process. Jordan’s stability and security served not only the Jordanian people, but all others that have been seeking a safe haven from other countries in the region.