Wide-Ranging Economic Growth Project Launches in Jordan

November 21, 2013

The Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) has officially launched—with ambitious goals of creating some 40,000 jobs over the next five years and attracting foreign investment to the Kingdom.

The wide-ranging project—funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by DAI with partners, McKinsey & Company and Duke University—focuses in particular on making young people and women more competitive in the workforce. Though nearly 70 percent of women in Jordan have secondary education, only 15 percent of them work; overall, youth unemployment stands at 37 percent.

JCP will engage with the private sector in the information technology, clean technology, medical services, and life sciences industries to strengthen the firms’ collective ability to compete in the global marketplace. The five-year program will strengthen innovation networks, enhance the Jordanian business environment, build workforce capacity, and improve access to financing.

According to the project’s team leader Alec Hansen, JCP will also support public and private sector leaders and organizations working toward the same goal of increasing the country’s overall competitiveness.

“Jordan is facing an immediate challenge, which is to create high-quality jobs through increased private sector competitiveness,” said Hansen. “This program will work closely with the public and private sectors to promote policy reforms, build capacity, improve coordination, and attract foreign investment.”

Jordan’s Industry, Trade, and Supply Minister Hatem Halawani was quoted by the Jordan Times as saying the project is in line with the government’s strategy and priority of enhancing the private sector’s competitiveness. “The program will help enhancing the country’s economy through boosting competitiveness of businesses in different vital sectors,” he said.

“This project is different because it is not just about strategy development but supporting execution at the ‘three-foot level’—defining the distinct roles of players in private sector, government, and in academia,” said Marwan Juma, DAI’s Jordan-based Board Member. “This time around, instead of these three sides just talking past each other, we are going to ensure a two-way communication that results in impactful actions.”

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