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Oct 31,2017 - Last updated at Oct 31,2017

At a recent forum organised by the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum in Amman, the minister of planning and international cooperation explained in detail Jordan’s economic woes over the past few years, backed by data and statistics.

Jordan, the minister told the audience, faces hardships and challenges emanating from the regional tensions and conflicts; most taxing on the country has been the exodus of 1.3 million Syrian refugees, a figure now estimated to have grown to 1.4 million due to natural growth.

The hardships that Jordan has been facing were exacerbated by the closure of the borders with Syria and Iraq, which meant the loss of important markets, and the disruption of the flow of gas from Egypt, which has cost the country JD5.5 billion over the past seven years.

As a result, over the past seven years, the rate of economic development dropped by about a third, from over 6 per cent witnessed during 2000-2010, and unemployment grew from 12 per cent to 18 per cent.

The annual subsidy for oil derivatives increased to $800 million per year, and to $2 billion for electricity, due to the use of diesel and fuel oil to generate power.

The bill for importing oil and its derivatives made up around 22 per cent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product; the direct cost of hosting the Syrian refugees reached $10.5 billion over the past seven years, or 4 per cent of GDP and 16 per cent of the yearly government revenues, while the indirect cost stands at between $3.1 billion and $3.4 billion each year.

These well-documented, and alarming, figures clearly show the strain the country’s economy faces, and explain why it is difficult to fight unemployment, poverty and the huge national debt.

How, then, is the country expected to continue helping the refugees while trying to maintain national security and face regional threats?

 

By helping Jordan, the international community will simply be serving its own security and stability, before helping a country that has kept its doors wide open to those fleeing wars in their countries.

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