Economy, energy and environment
Unlike almost all of the Arab players that surround it, Jordan does not possess significant oil and gas resources. This circumstance, added to a not particularly developed industrial apparatus, has generated an imbalance in the trade balance.
According to indexdotcom, the country’s economy is mainly based on the tertiary sector and revolves around the capital and the special economic zone of the port of Aqaba. Attracted by the rich archaeological sites of pre-Roman and Roman times (just think of the ancient city of Petra, listed among the wonders of the world), tourism represents an increasingly important sector of the Jordanian economy (it contributes 13% of GDP) but is heavily affected by the region’s instability. The eruption of the Arab Springs, for example, recorded a 35% decline in attendance in 2011 compared to the previous year, with an estimated loss for the state coffers of about one billion dollars. This problem, combined with the decline in exports and the decrease in consumption, has led, starting from 2012, to a slowdown in GDP growth.real, which in 2015 was about 2.9%. In addition to the uncertainties linked to regional instability, the weaknesses in the labor market, the slowdown in the construction of large infrastructure works and the decline in exports, in particular to Iraq, were influenced by the slow economic growth. nearly 18% of Jordanian exports. Furthermore, with the collapse of Syria, Jordan also suffered commercial repercussions as it lost access to its main trading point, the Syrian port of Latakia, from which goods too expensive to import via the Red Sea arrived. However, Jordan’s trade relations remain overall good. Became a member of the World Trade Organization (Wto) in 2000, Amman concluded numerous free trade agreements with neighboring countries, including the Agadir agreement, signed in 2004 with Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, and the one signed in 2010 with Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. Finally, negotiations are underway for the creation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement with the European Union to allow easier access of Jordanian products in the EU area. To cope with the influx of refugees from Syria, Jordan also received large sums of money, mainly from the United States (for a total of one billion dollars), from Saudi Arabia (which at the beginning of 2013 had announced a donation of 10 billion dollars).
Jordan is a strong energy importer. The main imported energy resource is oil, which comes mainly from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Added to this is the natural gas that comes from Egypt. On the other hand, Jordan has about 2% of the world’s uranium reserves: as a result, the country is developing a plan for the construction of a nuclear reactor, financed by South Korea, to gain greater independence in the energy field. . National and foreign investments in renewable energy are also growing.
With only 145 cubic meters of water per capita per year – compared to an internationally set threshold of ‘ water shortage ‘ at one thousand cubic meters – Jordan is one of the poorest countries in the world for water. To address a strategic shortcoming, the Jordanian government is proceeding with the construction of desalination plants and canals from the Red Sea which will involve a sharing of water resources with Israel. This last dispute turns out to be quite delicate, since water management represents one of the main nodes of the competition linked to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the considerable reduction of water in the Jordan flow caused by the construction of a dam by Israel.
Defense and security
Jordan is the only stable area between countries that have witnessed internal and regional violence in recent years, such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Israel. The waves of protest of the Arab Springs have had repercussions, albeit marginal, also on Jordan, an alarm bell for the regime. Faced with anti-government demonstrations, Jordan accepted the invitation of the GCC to apply for membership in the organization, perceived as a guarantee of internal stability. The country has progressively developed its own defense industry since the creation of the ‘King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau’ (Kaddb). Arranged in 1999, the Bureau aims to ensure self-sufficiency in the sector and, potentially, its transformation from importer to supplier of arms for other Middle Eastern countries. Jordanian troops participate in many UN peacekeeping operations. Jordan is one of the first countries in the world for the number of soldiers engaged in international missions.
With the expulsion of Palestinian armed groups from Jordanian territory and after the peace agreement with Israel, the greatest challenges to stability and national security come from radical Islamism, whose threat has become even more alive since the war in Syria and the presence of Is in Iraq have brought numerous jihadist groups to the area.
In fact, Jordan fears a repetition of a terrorist season: in November 2005, Amman was the scene of a triple attack attributed to movements close to al-Qaeda, which caused the death of about sixty people in three hotels in the capital.