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Jordan’s economy forecast to grow by 2.3% this year

Jordan’s economy forecast to grow by 2.3% this year

AMMAN: Jordan’s economy is expected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2019 and witness a slight increase in 2020 and 2021, according to a World Bank report.

In its “2019 Global Economic Prospects” report, the World Bank indicated that Jordan’s economy is expected to achieve a growth rate of 2.4 per cent in 2020 and 2.7 per cent in 2021.

The bank’s forecast for this year is close to the projections of the Ministry of Finance, which estimates that the Kingdom’s economy would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2020 and 2.7 per cent in 2021, according to the ministry.

The World Bank indicated that Jordan’s economy was affected by the “massive influx” of Syrian refugees that boosted the informal sector, where jobs tend to be labour-intensive and low skilled.

In another report, the World Bank indicated that Jordan is among the countries where women and men are treated differently by law and the payoff from work experience for women is among the lowest.

“The World Bank figure for this year is realistic, as the Kingdom’s economy is not expected to grow by more than 2.3 per cent, especially with no plans in the pipeline for major development projects to bring in investments,” economist Mazen Marji told The Jordan Times.

“Trade exchange with neighbouring countries has witnessed major progress and there have been no major economic developments to increase the estimate for this year’s growth,” he added.

The economist said that the presence of Syrian refugees has played “some role” in increasing unemployment, adding, however, that “the majority of the Syrian refugees replaced Egyptian guest workers”.

With the population growth rate remaining around 2.9 per cent, annually, and no major upcoming economic developments, the economist said, unemployment and poverty are expected to remain high.

According to economist Wajdi Makhamreh, Jordan’s economy will only witness a boost when trade with Syria and Iraq is restored.

“Many agreements were signed with Iraq recently — we hope we will be able to reap the fruits in 2019,” said Makhamreh.

“I hope we will be able to achieve a 2.3-per cent growth and not lower, but that will greatly rely on whether there are some breakthroughs and an increase in exports or not,” he told The Jordan Times.