Facts about Jordan
|Population||6,198,677 (July 2008 est.|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begin|
Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
General info about Jordan
Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who threatened to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. In 1994, he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis, most of whom remain in the country. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In November 2007, King ABDALLAH instructed his new prime minister to focus on socioeconomic reform, developing a healthcare and housing network for civilians and military personnel, and improving the educational system.
Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
phosphates, potash, shale oil
Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH II, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. Since Jordan's graduation from its most recent IMF program in 2002, Amman has continued to follow IMF guidelines, practicing careful monetary policy, making substantial headway with privatization, and opening the trade regime. Jordan's exports have significantly increased under the free trade accord with the US and Jordanian Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ), which allow Jordan to export goods with some Israeli content duty free to the US. In 2006 and 2008, Jordan used privatization proceeds to significantly reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio. These measures have helped improve productivity and have made Jordan more attractive for foreign investment. The government ended subsidies for petroleum and other consumer goods in 2008 in an effort to control the budget. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the budget deficit, attracting investments, and creating jobs. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls.
limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
Cities in Jordanaydun balila bayir bayt idis bayt yafa burma busayra dayr yusuf hawwarah irbid jawa judayta kafr abil kafr asad kafr rakib kafr sawm kafr yuba kitim kuraymah madaba malka qafqafa qumaym raymun sabha safut sakib sal samma sirfa suf tibnah umm nuwarah umm qays wadi musa waqqas yarqa