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Boosting National Competitiveness in Jordan

To address poverty and increase employment opportunities in Jordan, the Achievement of Market-Friendly Initiatives and Results project (AMIR II) worked to enhance Jordan’s ability to create robust, sustained economic growth.
Building on the successes of the Access to Microfinance and Improved Implementation of Policy Reform, the second phase of the project, known as AMIR II, worked with government and private sector entities to enhance government efficiency, improve access to credit, and accelerate job creation by expanding Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
 
The USAID-funded AMIR II project partnered with the private sector to develop and implement new policies and improve institutional environments. The project fostered private sector-led growth by emphasizing trade policy, market access, and customs reforms. Overall, the project drafted 90 laws, regulations, and sets of instructions to help Jordan better compete in the global economy.
 


The AMIR II project supported Jordan in the creation of a new Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, a modern set of policies and regulations for ICT, a secure network enabling e-transactions between government and the private sector, a national IT strategy, and a progressive ICT industry association--all key ingredients to improved national competitiveness.  Later, AMIR II project staff put these new resources to work by helping the Municipality of Madaba re-engineer and automate its business licensing processes. 
 
In 2004, renewing a professional license in Madaba, took up to 12 signatures and 28 days, and required entrepreneurs to spend significant time away from their businesses.  By 2006, that had been reduced to as few as two signatures and one day.  From 1998 to 2006, ten thousand new jobs were created in the ICT sector, IT exports grew from $11 million to $80 million, and IT-related revenue increased from $16 million to $441 million.
 
To improve access to credit and investment, the AMIR II project worked with Jordan’s capital and financial institutions to build a modern securities market that now attracts domestic and foreign investment in both the debt market and the equity market. Microfinance is also accessible to more people than ever before - more than $81 million has been lent on a sustainable basis to some 85,000 micro-entrepreneurs, 85 percent of whom are women.  Jordan is now a model for sustainable microfinance in the Middle East. 
 
Project Results
  • Market capitalization has grown by $32 billion, trading volumes are 35 times higher, and the number of investors has increased six-fold
  • Market access increased to more than150 markets
  • Exports to the United States increased from $12 million in 1999 to $1.2 billion in 2005
  • More than $81 million was lent to 85,000 micro entrepreneurs, 85 percent of whom are women
  • Helped Jordan become the 136th member of the World Trade Organization in an unprecedented eight months. Helped bring more than 40 trade laws and regulations into conformity with international standards.

Project Duration: 2002- 2006

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