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  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.01 cu km/yr (21%/4%/75%)
per capita: 177 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
0.9 cu km (1997)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)

Map references:
Middle East

Geographic coordinates:
31 00 N, 36 00 E

Natural resources:
phosphates, potash, shale oil

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m

mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River

Geography - note:
strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank

total: 92,300 sq km
land: 91,971 sq km
water: 329 sq km

Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia

26 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Indiana

Irrigated land:
750 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm

Natural hazards:
droughts; periodic earthquakes

Land use:
arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.47 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
600 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.71 years
male: 76.19 years
female: 81.39 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
5.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%

Median age:
total: 23.9 years
male: 24.6 years
female: 23.2 years (2008 est.)

6,198,677 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.9% of GDP (1999)

Population growth rate:
2.338% (2008 est.)

Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes

Death rate:
2.72 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.57 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.2% (male 1,017,233/female 976,284)
15-64 years: 63.7% (male 2,110,293/female 1,840,531)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 122,975/female 131,361) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
20.13 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)

noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert S. BEECROFT
embassy: Abdun, Amman
mailing address: P. O. Box 354, Amman 11118 Jordan; Unit 70200, Box 5, APO AE 09892-0200
telephone: [962] (6) 590-6000
FAX: [962] (6) 592-0121

National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 May (1946)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Anti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordan Bar Association [Hussein Mujalli, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hammam SAID, controller general]

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador ZEID Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (55 seats; members appointed by the monarch from designated categories of public figures to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (110 seats; members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts, to serve four-year terms; note - six seats are reserved for women and are allocated by a special electoral panel if no women are elected); nine seats are reserved for Christian candidates, and three seats are reserved for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 November 2007 (next scheduled to be held in 2011)
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - IAF 5.5 %, independents and other 94.5%; seats by party - IAF 6, independents and other 104; note - seven women will serve in the next Assembly - six of whom filled women's quota seats and one was directly elected

Legal system:
based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I

25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
local short form: Al Urdun
former: Transjordan

Political parties and leaders:
al-Ahd Party; Arab Islamic Democratic Movement [Yusuf ABU BAKR]; Arab Land Party [Dr. Ayishah Salih HIJAZAYN]; Arab Socialist Ba'th Party [Taysir al-HIMSI]; Ba'th Arab Progressive Party [Fu'ad DABBUR]; Freedom Party; Future Party; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Zaki Sa'ed BANI IRSHEID]; Islamic Center Party [Marwan al-FAURI]; Jordanian Arab Ansar Party; Jordanian Arab New Dawn Party; Jordanian Arab Party; Jordanian Citizens' Rights Movement; Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARINAH]; Jordanian Communist Workers Party; Jordanian Democratic Left Party [Musa MA'AYTEH]; Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'id Dhiyab Ali MUSTAFA]; Jordanian Generations Party [Muhammad KHALAYLEH]; Jordanian Green Party [Muhammad BATAYNEH]; Jordanian Labor Party [Dr. Mazin Sulayman Jiryis HANNA]; Jordanian Peace Party; Jordanian People's Committees Movement; Jordanian People's Democratic Party (Hashd) [Ahmad YUSUF]; Jordanian Rafah Party; Jordanian Renaissance Party; Mission Party; Nation Party [Ahmad al-HANANDEH]; National Action Party (Haqq) [Tariq al-KAYYALI]; National Constitutional Party [Abdul Hadi MAJALI]; National Popular Democratic Movement [Mahmud al-NUWAYHI]; Progressive Party [Fawwaz al-ZUBI]

name: Amman
geographic coordinates: 31 57 N, 35 56 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Thursday in March; ends last Friday in September

1 January 1952; amended many times

Executive branch:
chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Prince HUSSEIN (born 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II, is considered to be first in line to inherit the throne
head of government: Prime Minister Nader al-DAHABI (since 25 November 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch

Administrative divisions:
12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba

Judicial branch:
Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 22.4%, Iraq 12.9%, India 8.3%, UAE 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 7.5%, Syria 4.9% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
9.852 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
7% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
472 million kWh (2006 est.)

Current account balance:
-$4.87 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$6.597 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
13.3% official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$5,000 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
34.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$19.53 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$31.01 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$19.12 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38.8 (2003)

Exchange rates:
Jordanian dinars (JOD) per US dollar - 0.709 (2008 est.), 0.709 (2007), 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005), 0.709 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$6.765 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
1.615 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 21%, China 9.7%, Germany 7.5%, US 4.7%, Egypt 4.4% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
15.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 10.1%
services: 86.3% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
112,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)

$6.521 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
2.25 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Jordanian dinar (JOD)

Economy - overview:
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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
crude oil, textile fabrics, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods

clothing, phosphate mining, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, potash, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism

Electricity - exports:
13 million kWh (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line:
14.2% (2002)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8.68% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$15.38 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
10.87 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$15.65 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
1 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 12.5%
services: 82.5% (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
6.031 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$7.884 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
110,700 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
58.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$20.38 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$41.22 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 30.6% (2003)

Exports - commodities:
clothing, pharmaceuticals, potash, phosphates, fertilizers, vegetables, manufactures;

Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $752 million (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.4%
hydro: 0.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
2.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
320 million cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $5.783 billion
expenditures: $7.623 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1.127 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
585,500 (2007)

500,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
FM 31 (2007)

1.66 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.771 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
22 (2007)

Telephone system:
general assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment; microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; growing mobile-cellular usage in both urban and rural areas is reducing use of fixed-line services; Internet penetration remains modest and slow-growing
domestic: 1995 telecommunications law opened all non-fixed-line services to private competition; in 2005, monopoly over fixed-line services terminated and the entire telecommunications sector was opened to competition; mobile-cellular usage is increasing rapidly and teledensity reached 80 per 100 persons in 2007
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe; satellite earth stations - 33 (3 Intelsat, 1 Arabsat, and 29 land and maritime Inmarsat terminals); fiber-optic cable to Saudi Arabia and microwave radio relay link with Egypt and Syria; participant in Medarabtel (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2000)

Internet hosts:
21,150 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

gas 426 km; oil 49 km (2007)

total: 505 km
narrow gauge: 505 km 1.050-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Al 'Aqabah

1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 21
by type: cargo 8, container 1, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 13 (UAE 13)
registered in other countries: 24 (Algeria 7, Bahamas 2, Panama 13, Syria 2) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

total: 7,694 km
paved: 7,694 km (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

17 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,812,551
females age 16-49: 1,559,155 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,546,766
females age 16-49: 1,339,366 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF): Royal Jordanian Land Force, Royal Jordanian Navy, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya al-Urduniya, RJAF), Special Operations Command (Socom); Public Security Directorate (normally falls under Ministry of Interior, but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 68,067
female: 65,512 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
8.6% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan; 2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 1,835,704 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)); 500,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Jordan is a destination and transit country for women and men from South and Southeast Asia trafficked for the purpose of forced labor; Jordan is also a destination for women from Eastern Europe and Morocco for prostitution; women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to work as domestic servants, but some are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Jordan is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of law enforcement against trafficking for forced labor; the government made minimal efforts to investigate or prosecute numerous allegations related to exploitation of foreign domestic workers; Jordan failed for a second year to criminally prosecute and punish those who committed acts of forced labor; Jordan also continues to lack victim protection services; Jordan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)

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