Jordan Overview

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Jordan is an important partner for Germany in the Middle East and a country with a high profile for the region. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports effective local research projects and the expansion of the education and university system. The international research infrastructure SESAME and the German-Jordanian University are among the flagship projects that are visible from afar.

jordan population - fertility rate

Population / geography

Country name Hashemite Kingdom of JordanAl Mamlaka Al Urduniyya Al Haschimiyya

المملكة الأردنيّة الهاشميّة

Land area 89,342 km²
Population 10.45 million(2018; the rapid population increase in the recent past is due to the high number of Syrian refugees)
Life expectancy Men: 73.6 yearsWomen: 76.6 years

(2018 estimate)

Age structure 0-14 years: 34.1%15-24 years: 20%

25-54 years: 37.7%

55-64 years: 4.6%

65 years and older: 3.5%

(2018 estimate)

Population growth 2.02% (2018)
Population groups 99.2% Arabs (estimated to be about 50% of Palestinian descent)0.5% Circassian

0.1% Armenians

0.1% Turks

0.1% Kurds

Languages Arabic,English is widely used as a lingua franca
Religions 93% Sunni Muslims5% Christians (Greek-Orth., Roman-Catholic, Syr.-Orth., Copt.-Orth.)

2% others

National day May 25, 1946 (independence from the United Kingdom)
Time zone CET +2 (UTC +3)
Climate 80% desert (eastern and southern parts of the country), mountains on the edge of the Jordan Rift, Mediterranean, Jordan Valley and Red Sea coast subtropical; no precipitation from May to September
Currency 1 Jordanian dinar JOD / 100 piastres (1000 fils)Current exchange rate at – Currency converter (see links below)
Prefix +962



Politics / Administration

Country name Hashemite Kingdom of Jordanal-Mamlaka al-Urdunniyya al-Hāschimiyya

المملكة الأردنيّة الهاشميّة

Form of government Constitutional monarchy
Capital Amman
Head of state King Abdullah II bin al-Husseinsince February 7, 1999
Head of government Prime Minister Dr. Omar Razzaz (in office since June 5, 2018)
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (in office since January 15, 2017)
Minister of Education Azmi Mahafzeh (since June 2018)
Science Minister Adel TweisiMinister for Higher Education and Research

(since February 2018)

Houses of Parliament Bicameral parliamentMajlis Al-Umma / National Assembly

consisting of:

  • Majlis Al-Nuwaab / Chamber of Deputies 130 seats. 29 seats were distributed by quota (15 to women, 9 to Christians, 3 for other minorities, election on September 20, 2016).
  • Majlis al-Aayan / Senate (65 members directly appointed by the king (last on September 29, 2016).
Ruling parties There are 23 official parties, but they are rather marginalized. The party system is generally poorly developed.Results of the most recent parliamentary elections in 2016:

Nine political parties won 30 of the 130 seats,

  • “Islamic Action Front” as the largest force (10 seats)
  • “Zamzam” (5 seats)
  • “The National Current” (4 seats)
  • “Islamic Centrist Party” (5 seats)
  • Justice and Reform Party (2 seats).

The IAF was also able to win five seats with its alliance “National Coalition for Reform”.

Opposition The Islamic Action Front (IAF) – the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – is the country’s largest (and only established party with the most supporters); she did not take part in the two parliamentary elections in 2010 and 2013 and called for an election boycott.
Administrative structure 12 governorates (muhāfaza): Ajloun, Aqaba, Amman, al-Balqa, Jarash, Irbid, al-Karak, Ma’an, Madaba, al-Mafraq, at-Tafila, ZarqaMa`an, MadabaAt the head is a governor appointed by the government and confirmed by the king.

Political system

State building

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy and is constitutionally organized as a central state with twelve governorates. These have administrative tasks, but no political powers of their own. The head of state is King Abdullah II. Ibn Al-Hussein (since February 7, 1999).

Domestic politics

Jordan is keen to be seen as a trailblazer for reform in the region. King Abdullah II wants to systematically modernize his country. The focus is less on domestic political reforms than on improving the socio-economic situation.

The current government under Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz was sworn in on June 14, 2018; Since then, three government reshuffles have already taken place, in October 2018 and in January and May 2019. The challenges facing the government include the effects of the war in Syria on Jordan and the current economic crisis.

The Syria conflict has due to the high number of refugees in Jordan not only socio-economic consequences. The approximately 670,000 Syrian refugees registered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) represent a considerable burden for the Jordanian state and the Jordanian population. The effects on the state budget, social structure, economy and infrastructure – including the health and education system, price level stability and water supply – are palpable.

The economic and fiscal situation in Jordan is also difficult. Triggered by a planned reform of the income tax law and because energy prices were supposed to be increased, Jordan experienced the largest protests in years in May and June 2018. They resulted in the government being reformed and Omar al-Razzaz installed as the new Prime Minister.

Business information

With a population of 10.5 million and a GDP of around 41.9 billion US dollars (roughly 4,300 US dollars per capita), Jordan is one of the so-called “ middle income ” countries. The country’s wealth is unevenly distributed. According to the World Bank, around a third of the population lives in poverty for at least one quarter of the year. The last unemployment rate was 18.7 percent. In particular, the high level of youth unemployment (around 37.2 percent among 15-24 year olds) poses massive problems for Jordan.

The Jordanian state is the largest employer, followed by UNRWA (United Nations Aid Organization for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East). 56 percent of the Jordanian employed workforce is in the formal sector (42 percent in the public sector and 22 percent in the private sector). 44 percent of the Jordanian workforce works in the informal sector (especially retail, craft, services, construction, agriculture).

Jordan is a country without any significant raw materials or industrial base. It is also one of the most arid countries in the world. Existing resources and main exports include potassium carbonate and phosphate. In addition, there are oil shale and uranium deposits.

The Jordanian economy is heavily service-oriented (share of GDP 67.4 percent – mainly tourism, banking / financial services, IT) followed by a clear margin by the manufacturing industry (share of GDP 29.3 percent – above all textile industry, construction, chemicals and agriculture (Share of GDP 3.2 percent.) The manufacturing industry is only of regional importance for textiles and in chemical and pharmaceutical niche markets. Exports to Europe often fail due to non-compliance with the EUStandards. It is characteristic of all sectors that small and medium-sized enterprises provide the bulk of economic output in the private sector. The manufacturing industry accounts for 90 percent of Jordanian exports and is primarily located in a number of industrial and free trade zones. The main sales areas are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, India and (in the textile sector) the USA.

Jordan has been a member of the WTO (World Trade Organization) since 2000. Free trade agreements exist with the USA, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Greater Arab Free Trade Area GAFTA) and Canada, and an association agreement with the EU since 2002. In 2010 the partnership with the EU was given “advanced status”. In 2010, Germany and Jordan concluded an investment promotion and protection agreement. In 2016, the “ Jordan Compact”Jordan and important donors have agreed on the principle of” Help for integration performance “. Since then, Jordan has gradually opened its labor market to Syrian refugees and in return has received extensive financial and economic aid as well as easier access to the EU market. The aim is to facilitate exports from Jordan to the EU and create new jobs.

The Jordanian economy is heavily dependent on foreign grants and remittances from overseas Jordanians as well as foreign direct investment. Due to its structure, it is prone to external shocks. The consequences of the regional crises – including the influx of Syrian refugees and the loss of traditional sales markets in Syria and Iraq – have further deteriorated the economic and financial situation. Public debt is 94.4 percent of GDP (as of 2018).

The economy is represented by numerous organizations, including the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, the Jordan Chamber of Industry, the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), the Jordan Investment Board (JIB), the Jordan Tourism Board, the Jordanian-German Business Council, German Business Services and the German-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cairo as an umbrella organization with secondary responsibility for Jordan.

You can find important economic data on Jordan in the ” Economic data compact ” series by Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). This is updated twice a year in May and November. The following indicators are included, among other things: Residents, population density, currency, exchange rate, gross domestic product, GDP per resident, GDP growth, inflation rate, average wage, unemployment, budget balance, foreign trade, most important import and export goods, most important trading partners, foreign direct investments, country creditworthiness, foreign exchange reserves, Foreign trade with the EU and Germany, most important German import and export goods.

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