Disadvantaged by certain natural conditions (aridity and limited soil fertility, scarcity of mineral resources) as well as by its delicate strategic position, Jordan remains a backward country (GDP per capita of US $ 3,421 in 2008). The period of luxuriant growth that has taken place since 1948, thanks to international aid, suffered a sharp halt in 1967. Definitively sanctioned by the Arab summit in Rabat in 1974, the loss of the fertile West Bank, Jordan had to rely only on exploitation agricultural area immediately E of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley, being the remaining uncultivated or unproductive territory. To this it must be added that the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in a country practically without resources, has created very serious problems. The good performance of the oil market in the seventies and the strategic role during the Iran-Iraq conflict in the eighties of the twentieth century favored the Jordanian economy, reinforced by direct aid from Arab states and remittances from citizens who emigrated to those same countries. The expectations linked to the signing of the peace treaty between the country and Israel (1994), based on the realization of large industrial and infrastructure projects, which should have favored the growth of employment and therefore of income in Jordan, have been considerably reduced.. After the development programs, for the period 1992-98 prepared by the Jordanian government and supported by they have shrunk considerably. After the development programs, for the period 1992-98 prepared by the Jordanian government and supported by they have shrunk considerably.
After the development programs, for the period 1992-98 prepared by the Jordanian government and supported by IMF and the World Bank, the rate of economic growth has reached the highest values in the Middle East. The positive influences on the Jordanian economy, deriving from the peace agreement, were concentrated on public finance, industrial cooperation and tourism; the public budget, in particular, benefited from the cancellation, in 1995, of a large part of the debt to the United States, but having no other creditor countries (Japan, France, United Kingdom and Germany are the main ones) following the US example, Jordan’s external debt was still 116% of GNP at the end of 1998. In 1999, succeeding his father on the throne, King Abdallah II promoted a profound economic reform aimed at reducing external debt and increasing the state budget, implemented with the support of the IMF and the World Bank. A’ a shrewd privatization policy, a new fiscal regime and the entry into a free market logic have allowed, starting from the year 2000, an increase in GDP, with constantly increasing growth rates and a decrease in the percentage of debt on the GDP itself.
According to allcountrylist, they also allowed the country to establish trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, thus opening the economy to foreign investment. Only the blockade of trade with Iraq, which occurred in 2003 in conjunction with the Iraqi conflict, caused a slight decline in economic growth. However, the presence in Jordan of foreign companies interested in the Iraqi market and of Iraqis themselves engaged in observing the evolution of reconstruction in Iraq has helped to restore the growth of the Jordanian economy, which in 2006 reached a GDP practically tripled compared to 1998. Agriculture, in practice of a subsistence character, can therefore count on a very small arable area and where irrigated areas are very small, created thanks to canalization works that exploit the waters of the Yarmuk and Yabbok and the use of underground springs. The arative is mainly occupied by cereals (wheat, barley, sorghum and maize), which are widespread above all in the western highlands; other widely used food crops, such as lentils, broad beans, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, as well as citrus fruits, are mainly present in the limited irrigated areas. Finally, the country can count on modest crops of vines, tobacco, olive trees and, in the Jordan Valley, bananas and date palms. Overall, food production is unable to meet the modest demands of the domestic market, so the country has to resort to imports. Breeding is widely practiced (sheep, goats and poultry), which on the one hand represents the main resource for nomadic shepherds, on the other it constitutes a precious complement to their poor economy for the peasants. However, the continuous search for spaces to devote to agriculture has greatly reduced the already small land intended for grazing. In practice there are no forests, reduced to stunted scrubs; equally almost non-existent is fishing. The cornerstone of the Jordanian economy is the extraction activity, in particular that of phosphates and potassium salts, which together constitute an important item of exports. Oil production is insufficient to meet energy needs and Jordan uses part of the crude which, from Saudi Arabia, is conveyed to the Mediterranean coast through an oil pipeline. The main supplier, however, was Iraq, whose oil was bought from Jordan at low cost, in consideration of the debts incurred during the war between Iran and Iraq of the years 1980-88. The Iraqi conflict caused a blockage of these supplies and Jordan had to turn to other Gulf countries; the improvement of the situation in Iraq made it possible, at the beginning of 2007, to restore the oil supply.
A connection with Egypt has been active since 2003, which supplies the country with natural gas. L’ solar power it is used for domestic purposes. The manufacturing industry is based on small semi-artisan-run factories, engaged in the transformation of local agricultural products (oil mills, tobacco factories, breweries) and in the processing of imported wool and cotton; there are also some cement factories, an oil refinery in Az Zarqā ‘and chemical complexes for the production of fertilizers in Al’Aqabah and ʽAmmān. The industrial cooperation between Jordan and Israel started with the 1994 peace treaty has led to the creation, in Irbid, in the north of the country, of a “qualified” industrial zone, whose products can access the US market free of duties and taxes, provided that at least 35% of their value derives from activities carried out in the area itself, in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories. This area, inaugurated in March 1998, it has attracted investments of over $ 200 million and created several thousand jobs. Other “qualified” zones have been established to encourage private initiative and foreign investment and to liberalize trade. Four free zones have been established (in AlʽAqabah, Az Zarqā ‘, along the Syrian border and near the ʽAmmān airport). The country must import almost everything necessary (energy raw materials, machinery, vehicles, chemicals and textiles, etc., as well as large quantities of food), while exports are practically limited to clothing, fertilizers, pharmaceutical products and some fruit and vegetables; therefore the deficit of the trade balance is very heavy. L’ trade takes place above all with Saudi Arabia, China, the European Union (Germany and Italy), the United States and Egypt for imports while the main destinations are the United States, Iraq, India and Saudi Arabia for exports. Tourism, towards which the government’s efforts for a revival have been directed, has as its preferred destinations the ancient historic cities of Petra and Jarash and the seaside resorts of the coast on the Red Sea. However, it suffered the effects of the terrorist episodes that occurred in the years 2005-2006. Relatively numerous are the communication routes that largely follow the ancient caravans, using above all the central depression that leads to AlʽAqabah. The communications hub is ʽAmmān, connected by road with all the main centers of the country and by rail to the N with Syria, to the SE with Saudi Arabia, while to the SW the railway has reached the port of AlʽAqabah since 1975. The modern asphalted roads broadly follow the railway line; a new road artery leads to Iraq. The only port is that of AlʽAqabah, essential for trade with foreign countries; however, Jordan has three airports, two of which are international ʽAmmān and Az Zarqā ‘.