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Why Jordan Hasn’t Fallen… Yet.

Source: https://twitter.com/alibinalhussein/status/1259906986088509440?s=21

I have been contemplating the idea of the rise of a small nation called Jordan, in which I spent my entire life, for at least 2 years. But regardless of those 2 years, I have always, literally always, believed in this country, and I have been mocked by almost everyone, including close ones, for having such a belief. But the further I live here and the further I read, the more convinced I become of my own convictions.

From Regional Independence to Local Stability and Safety

In the past 74 years, Jordan fought, aggressively, the idea of “centralized” Arab states and all sorts of communist movements, especially the ones promoted by the Syrian and Egyptian regimes. This has put King Hussein through several assassination attempts by almost everyone surrounding him; Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians, for refusing to take part in this fake centralization (which, by the way, eventually led to the demise of the regimes who promoted it, starting with the PLO, Abdulnaser, the Ba’ath party and very recently, Al-Assad.)

Building the Army and Institutions

With “Centralization” out of the way, Jordan led a great economical and political struggle to survive. Which promoted it to take a more inclusive approach, devoid of foreign intervention in its politics and economics (which explains its fight against political parties in Jordan who have/had foreign support.)

The first move taken by Jordan was to build a centralized and strong army coupled with inclusive political institutions which resulted in strong upholding of the law where everyone was equal, regardless of religion or ethnicity.

The second step was the establishment of inclusive economical institutions, which promoted free market competition and the privatization of services.

These 2 steps provided the stability and safety for businesses which wished to serve the Levant and the Gulf Region. Hence, Jordan witnessed the move of many big and small companies, because at the time, Lebanon was torn by civil wars, Syria and Iraq were governed by extractive political and economical institutions, and Palestine, you know, have been fighting the Israeli occupation. Not only that, but international companies wishing to build a base in the region thought of Jordan as the first option.

(No wonder the first Levantine company to be registered in NASDAQ was Jordanian (aramex) and the first, and biggest, acquisitions in the Levant were of 2 Jordanian startups: Maktoob and Souq).

Nevertheless, several shocks hit the region, and with each one, Jordan survived and provided the safest place to do business, which later helped it to thrive on such shocks (to a certain extent though, and for a limited amount of time).

But then, a whole new level of shocks hit.

The Mother of all Shocks: COVID19.

Against all speculations, Jordan proved everyone wrong, again, during this pandemic. Jordan has been the earliest and most responsive country in the whole region. With strict measures in terms of lockdowns, movement across cities, safety measures in workplace and active testing and medical care for citizens.

Now, with that challenge almost out of the way (not almost, but you get the point), and with the more inclusive measures the country has taken in the past few years, in terms of decentralizing the municipalities and giving more power to the people (which has been witnessed in the tax-increase riots of 2018 and the teachers riots of 2019, in which the government consented to the demands of its people), I personally believe this will put Jordan on the right position for “unbounded” rise to become a competitive force, not only in the region, but hopefully worldwide.

I believe in Jordan, and its perfect size makes me more confident in its rise.

However, don’t think of this rise happening in the next 2 or 3 months, or even a year, but perhaps in 5 to 10 years. At the end of the day, I’m not a stupid journalist or an academic ranting from afar, I live here, and the risk of being wrong will affect me first, just like anyone else who believes and lives in Jordan.



- References:

[1] Business & Investment in Jordan. The Jordanian Economy

[2] Why Nations Fail

[3] Jordan Economic Growth Plan 2018 — 2022

[4] Principia Politica

[5] The Silk Roads

[6] Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean

[7] Out of the Middle East: The Emergence of an Arab Global Business

[8] مهنتي كملك



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