Jordan

Ease of Doing Business Rank: 75

Overview

 

Geographic location

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a Middle Eastern country at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Syria lies to the north, Israel and Egypt lie to the west, Saudi Arabia lies to the south and Iraq lies to the west.

Spoken language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic, spoken by 92% of the population. English does not have official status, but it is widely spoken and commonly used in commerce, banking and education.

Minority languages include Armenian, Chechen, French, and German.

Population

The 2020 population estimate is 10.2 million.

According to 2015 data, Amman is the largest city (1.81 million), followed by Zarqa (635,160) and Irbid (250,645).

Popular industries

The top industries in Jordan are mining and minerals, manufacturing, construction, energy, telecommunications and IT, banking, transportation, construction, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing and fertilizers.

Education

The Times World University Rankings includes one university in Jordan in the top 500 in the world and a further two rank in the top 1,000 in the world.

The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks Jordan’s educational system 96th out of 167 countries.

Popular entity types

The most common type of business entities in Jordan are Limited Liability Company, Public Limited Company and Offshore Company (Non-Operating Foreign Company).

The majority of businesses are in the form of a Limited Liability Company.

Jordan incentives for business

Jordan has introduced a stimulus package to revive the economy and entice investors. It includes a 10-year lock-in guarantee on tax incentives and regulations agreed with external investors.

They have also lowered electricity tariffs to bolster industry, as energy accounts for 40 per cent of production costs. Additionally, they have lowered small and medium-sized business income tax rates from 20% to 17%.

Jordan also has five state zones which prioritize export industries and technology. Projects receive a 10 per cent exemption on annual land fees.

Additionally, the country has many private free zones including Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) with access to the Red Sea, seaports and an international airport.

History & Features

 

Main cities for business

Amman is the capital and financial center of the country.

Popular historical & tourist attractions

Jordan history dates back thousands of years and is memorialized in five amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The best-known is the archaeological site at Petra, inhabited since prehistoric times.

This marvel was the Nabateans’ capital city and a caravan center during Hellenistic and Roman times for trading incense, spices and silks. It includes elaborate tombs, tunnels, dams, cisterns and reservoirs and extensive archaeological remains of previous civilizations.

Al-Maghtas is another UNESCO site and a Christian pilgrimage site. Most Christian denominations accept it as the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist.

Jordan also has many areas of outstanding natural beauty. The towering red and orange limestone bluffs at Wadi Rum include hoodoos as well as petroglyphs from ancient Nabatean peoples.

In the Rift Valley you’ll find the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth and the second-saltiest significant body of water in the world. The salt makes the water very buoyant and ideal for swimming. Many visit due to the high mineral content of the water said to have numerous health benefits.

The Wadi Mujib canyon offers waterfalls and hiking trails, including one trail hikers must traverse through fast-moving waters in a narrow gorge.

Aqaba lies on the Red Sea. It is the only coastal city in Jordan and offers beaches, stunning landscapes and the ancient ruins of Tall Hujayrat Al-Ghuzlan. Its extensive coral reefs make it a favorite scuba diving and snorkeling spot.

Amman blends art, culture and tradition creating a vibrant, varied capital city with plenty to see and do. Visit a Roman amphitheater, sample Jordanian food or stroll through many of the art galleries and museums.

History

Archaeological evidence indicates Paleolithic humans populated Jordan at least 90,000 years ago. The first written history appears in the Old Testament with mentions of the kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom.

The Roman Empire later dominated Jordan, including the Nabatean capital of Petra in 103 AD. However, plague wiped out much of the population in 542 AD. Later, Sassanians invaded and diverted the Romans attention from the Bedouin tribesmen that dominated the north.

After the Prophet Muhammad died, Arabs overtook the area and it became the first Muslim dynasty under the Umayyad Empire between 661 and 750 AD. Later, the Abbasid Empire overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate and ruled from their capital in what is now Baghdad, Iraq.

In 1258, Mongol forces brought down the Abbasid Caliphate. The region was then occupied by the Crusaders, Ayyubids and Mamluks. The powerful Ottoman Empire conquered the region in 1517. However, local Arab governors ruled for four centuries with little interference from Istanbul.

The Ottoman Empire was defeated World War I and the League of Nations divided the region. Britain assumed control of the Transjordan area and appointed a Hashemite king.

In 1946, Transjordan became a sovereign state. The country supported Palestine in the 1948 Arab/Israeli War, but Israel prevailed. Consequently, Palestinian refugees flooded the area.

In 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 1951, Jordan’s king was assassinated and his sons subsequently ascended to the throne. The second son adopted liberalist views and introduced a new constitution.

In 1967, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt. However, Israel decimated Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan in the Six-Day War. They assumed control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan.

More Palestinian refugees poured into Jordan. Some militants within their ranks began to cause trouble. In 1970, Jordan launched an attack on them and won, despite support for the militants from Syria.

In 1972, Jordan supported Syria against a more imposing force: Israel. By 1988, they’d relinquished control of the West Bank and backed Palestine against Israel.

Between 1990 and 1991 Jordan supported Iraq during the Gulf War. This led to a breakdown in US/Jordan relations and aid withdrawal. In 1994, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel. Since the end of the war, Jordan has largely restored its relations with Western countries.

Today, Jordan operates under a constitutional monarchy, still ruled by the Hashemite royal family. They have a market economy.

Other relevant facts

According to 2015 data, most inhabitants identify as Jordanian (69.3%), followed by Syrian (13.3%), Palestinian (6.7%), Egyptian (6.7%), Iraqi (1.4%) and other (2.6%).

Data from 2010 suggests most Jordanians are Muslim (97.2%), followed by Christian (2.2%), Buddhist (.4%), Hindu (.1%), Jewish (<0.1%) and folk, unaffiliated or other religions.

Additional Information for Business

According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business, Jordan is the 69th best country in the world for conducting business.

The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Jordan 53rd globally and states, “There has been little progress on labor market reform, and economic freedom is further constricted by corruption and the judicial system’s vulnerability to political influence.”

World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings rate Jordan 75th for ease of doing business in the world.

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