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Jordan drops 22 place on global Prosperity Index despite improvements in Personal Freedom pillar

By Maram Kayed - Dec 24,2018 - Last updated at Dec 24,2018

AMMAN — Jordan has dropped 22 places on the Legatum Institute’s 2018 global Prosperity Index report, to the 91st position out of 149 surveyed countries.

The Kingdom came in 65th place on the Safety and Security index, one of the report’s main ranking pillars (sub-indices), while coming in the 66th in Healthcare.

However, with regards to the Personal Freedom pillar, Jordan was ranked 122nd, just 27 places from the bottom, despite what the index described as “the biggest positive change” in this particular regard, having moved up three places since 2017.

Regionally speaking, the report underlined that the MENA region is one of two regions in the world suffering the most deterioration in terms basic legal rights this year, overall, due to a decline in the civil liberties indicator; the other being South America.

With Israel ranking highest, in 37th place and Yemen ranking lowest at 147th place, the region seems to be facing “a common challenge” in terms of personal freedom, according to the report.

Notably, none of the countries in the MENA region came within the the top 100 in the combined Prosperity Index.

In remarks to The Jordan Times, political analyst and Jordan University political science professor, Bader Madi, said “the Middle East is held back by its own people’s obliviousness to their rights... They still do not see themselves as worthy of basic rights”.

Looking forward, Madi expressed his optimism for the future, saying that “the younger generation are a lot more aware, mainly because globalisation has opened their eyes to what a better life looks like”.

In terms of gender equality in politics, the MENA region is also amongst the lowest ranked with respect to women in national legislatures. Only 16 per cent of the seats are held by women, in comparison to Rwanda, where women occupy almost 50 per cent of parliamentary seats.
Meanwhile, in regards to the Economic Equity and Business Environment pillars, Jordan came in 112th and 110th place, respectively, while dropping 10 places in education, to 86th place. 

According to Tarek Alawneh, a political science instructor at the University of Mutah, “corruption is the main reason behind this drop [in education]. Not only are educational institutions underfunded, but their employees, both administrators and academics, no longer feel the need to do their job because no one else is”.
Global prosperity continues to rise and is at its highest point ever, as the median score has moved up the equivalent of 15 places since the launch of the Prosperity Index in 2007. Since 2013, 113 countries have improved their Prosperity scores; 95 of them in the last year alone.

Presiding over the rest of the world, Norway came in first on the Prosperity Index, while Afghanistan ranked last.

Since 2017, 11 of the MENA region’s 18 countries have declined on the overall Prosperity Index — Jordan being one of them. 

As for the rest of the world, most countries are showing progress and improvement in their indices.

The report described these results as “a decline at a time of international growth”.

In fact, the gap between the highest and lowest scores has been growing steadily since 2013, with this year’s gap cited as the widest.

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