Jordan - Economic development



Before the upheavals caused by the war of 1967, the government had begun to design its first comprehensive development plans. The Jordan Development Board, established in 1952, adopted a five-year program for 1961–65 and a seven-year program for 1964–70, which was interrupted by war. In 1971, a newly created National Planning Council, with wide responsibility for national planning, prepared the 1973–75 plan for the East Bank, with a planned total outlay of JD 179 million. The main objectives were to reduce the trade deficit, increase the GNP, expand employment, and reduce dependence on foreign aid. At least 60% of the planned projects were completed, and a new five-year plan was instituted on 1 January 1976.

The 1976–80 plan entailed outlays of JD 844 million (at 1975 constant prices) and achieved an annual GDP growth rate of9.6%, below the goal of 11.9% Notable development projects included port expansion at al 'Aqabah and construction of Queen Alia International Airport. The 1981–85 development plan allocated funds totaling JD 3,300 million and projected an economic growth rate of 10.4% annually (17% for industry and mining, 7% for agriculture). The plan envisaged completion of large potash and fertilizer installations, as well as the first stage of construction of the 150 m (492 ft) Maqarin Dam project on the Yarmuk River, which would store water for irrigation. This project also was to extend the East Ghor Canal 14 km (9 mi) from Karama to the Dead Sea. The Maqarin Dam project was shelved indefinitely, however.

The 1986–90 development plan allocated JD 3,115.5 million, to be shared between the public sector (52%) and the private and mixed sector (48%). The goals of the plan were the following: realization of a 5.1% annual growth rate in the GDP; creation of 97,000 new employment opportunities; a decrease in imports and an increase in exports to achieve a more favorable balance of trade; expansion of investment opportunities to attract more Arab and foreign capital; development of technological expertise and qualified personnel; attainment of a balanced distribution of economic gains nationally through regional development; and expansion and upgrading of health, education, housing, and other social services.

Between 1953 and 1986, Jordan received development assistance from the IBRD and other international agencies, other Arab countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. The United States provided nearly $1.7 billion in nonmilitary assistance and more than $1.4 billion in military aid. Aid from Arab oil-producing countries totaled $322 million in 1984. The April 1989 riots in Jordan led to a new surge of aid transfers. Arab grants to Jordan in 1989 fell between $360 million and $430 million. Political dissatisfaction in Kuwait and Sa'udi Arabia at Jordan's policy during the Gulf crisis resulted, however, in the Gulf states denying further direct grant assistance. In 1988, Jordan began working with the IMF on restructuring its economy. These plans were thrown into considerable disarray by political events in the Gulf (most notably Jordan's illconceived support of Iraq in the face of global opposition to that country's 1990 invasion of Kuwait), but new agreements were concluded in 1991, as Jordan began to institute democratic reforms. Foremost in the IMF plan are reductions in government spending, taming of inflation, increasing foreign exchange, and decreasing government ownership of economic enterprises. In the economic plan of 1996–98, Jordan was expected to decrease its ownership of enterprises from 1994's level of 64% to 55% by 1998.

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