Jordan is a middle-income country, with an economic situation featured by several challenges; ongoing deficit in the public budget, high inflation and low economic participation rate in addition to the scarcity and shortage of natural resources,. As a result, the progress of the economic growth is sometimes receded, and social welfare of people is hardly maintained. All these aspects played a role in increasing the poverty rate from 13.3% in 2008 to 14.4% in 2010. Handling Jordan’s socio-economic challenges requires a well-rounded joint effort and support.
Despite the several attempts of the Government to reduce poverty, the fact remains that there is a big challenge due to different factors. The influx of refugees, the scarcity of natural resources, and lack of job opportunities all those caused an increase in the number of poverty pockets and poverty rates. A ‘poverty pocket’ represents a rural district or sub-district in which more than 25% of the population is below the absolute poverty line. In 2010, 27 rural ‘poverty pockets’ were identified. Six of them in Mafraq, one in Zarqa and two in Irbid. These three governorates are also the hosting communities which have the highest numbers of Syrian Refugees and the Zaatari Camp. Considering that the hosting communities are also poverty pockets for Jordanians, this increased the burden on the Government of Jordan. 80.35% of poor households in Jordan are located in urban areas and 19.65% in rural areas.
Food Security is when people have secure food access, safe and nutrition food to stay healthy and active in life. Jordan faces few challenges under this regard, due to the fact that it is considered the fourth country in the world in water scarcity and 90% of Jordan’s land is considered to be arid to semi-arid. These two challenges make agriculture difficult and thus it will push the country to import food from outside, which will cost the government. The people who will most be affected from Jordan’s self-insufficiency will be the communities at risk, who are firstly not able to benefit from the arid lands to do their own agriculture, nor they will be able to afford purchasing vegetables and fruits from the market due to their high prices.
Youth & Unemployment
In Jordan, more than 60% of the population is below 30 years old. A figure which suggests that an investment in youth can be an instrument for national development. Nevertheless, the fourth quarter of last year reported 12.5% unemployment rate. Statistics showed that the males’ unemployment rate has reached 10.8% while it was 19.9 % for females during the same quarter. The latest survey conducted during the last quarter of 2012 also shows that the unemployment rate is high among the university degree holders by 16% compared with the other educational levels. Jordan is one more country in the Arab States facing the challenge of job creation. The lack of opportunities in the local market has resulted in the migration of talented human capital outside the country particularly to the Gulf States. Unemployment is escalated by the mismatch between the university education and the labour market. Furthermore, government efforts didn’t succeed in promoting vocational training among youth.
UNDP helps the Government of Jordan in eradicating extreme poverty and supporting youth through the following activities;
- Developing and implementing national a poverty reduction strategy;
- Conducting poverty assessments and cross-country comparisons to build actionable awareness of the status and dynamics of poverty;
- Developing specific socio-economic policies aimed at enhancing pro-poor strategies for human development;
- Strengthening institutional capacities in poverty analysis and pro-poor policy formulation capacities; and
- Provide technical assistance and capacity support to promote and expand private sector ventures through the Global Compact.
- Support youth though enhancing their life and employability skills and preparing them to join the labour market;
- Help the communities at risk to be self-sufficient and supporting them through distribution of livestock to the most vulnerable groups.