Eyas's Blog

Jordan in Numbers

In Jordan, hard facts are not commonly used, unfortunately. As I described at an earlier post, Jordan has a big social problem of bigotry and over-confidence is politics. Many statements are given about the deteriorating status of living, which is true and sad in many cases, but are often expanded and generalized to say that nothing good has come out of the establishment. This is not true. Jordan has real problems: We have political problems, from the external climate of the Middle East, to internal marginalization. We have social problems, and problems in education, and problems in corruption, and a poor economic situation, etc. But things are getting better, and to say that the establishment has not done anything would be an injustice.

This is not to say that all is well: we are a long way to go, and we should obviously demand more from the establishment. We should also demand less marginalization, and to be included in the process. But to fool ourselves and say that we are living in a system where the Establishment is trying to keep is weak and poor would be an unjust, unfounded, and disheartening act.

This is a look at the last ten years King Abdullah II’s reign as the Kingdom’s head of state.

Can some of these developments be associated to the potential positive sum nature of the world, technology, etc.? Yes. But take a look at the data, collected from a number of sources, and decide for yourself if it shows the possibility of a benign, well-intentioned establishment.

Information is taken from the CIA Factbook (referenced CIA for short), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Ministry of Finance of Jordan (MOF). Currencies are either in dollar ($ / USD), or in Jordanian Dinars (JD / JOD), and are indicated.

Nor all numbers are necessarily useful; GDP for instance is often criticized for not being a good metric of a country’s economic situation. Keep this in mind while viewing.

Jordan Unemployment Rate 2000-2011 Jordan Exports 2000-2011

According to Abdullah II’s book, Jordan exports to the US shot up from “virually nothing to $18 million in 1998”. Under Abdullah’s negotiations, this number rose to $1 billion in 2009.

Public Debt as Percentage of GDP 2002-2011

Debt as a percentage of the GDP continues to drop. After it reached below 60% of the GDP around 2008, a new policy was adopted that indicated that public debt shall never go above 60%. Initial reports indicate that we are about to hit that mark now, a very concerning sign. But people forget we are in a global recession; things are indeed very concerning, but some people assume that the establishment has worsened our situation. Looking back at 2002, where public debts’ percentage of the GDP was in the high 90s, it puts things in perspective.

Total Debt 2002-2011

Public and External debts in Jordan shown as an absolute number in JOD. These numbers are contemporary and not adjusted for inflation. As such, if adjusted for inflation, one would probably see a more level Public Debt graph up to 2011, and slowly declining external debts.

GDP Real Growth Rate 2000-2011

The image above is important, as it shows the upward progress of the Jordanian economy up until the global economic crisis. While economic growth is expected, the increasing economic growth from 2000 until 2007 was significant. Things took a downwards turn when the crisis hit, but were only fully realized by 2010, at the height of anti-Rifai protests. As Prime Minister Samir Rifa`i struggled to restore the financial situation in Jordan, by removing subsidies and enacting tough measures, his policies proved to be unpopular and lead to his downfall. People in Jordan believed Rifai’s government was embezzling the people from money by increasing oil prices, etc. Meanwhile, every person with access to a computer could verify that global oil prices were up; it was not the government playing make believe. But sometimes bad things happen to promising men, that is the cycle of life. Jordanians got Marouf al-Bakhit to replace him. I hope the anti-Rifai protesters are happy.

External Debt as Percent of GDP 2002-2011 GDP Per Capita (USD)

GDP Per Capita numbers from 2000-2011. The Jordanian press however is not a fan of these numbers, as it says that the Ministry of Finance has been cooking some of the numbers, and at some point appended JOD 1.5 billion to a GDP figure for no reason.

Population Percentage Below Poverty Line 2000-2011

The image above is a curious one, as it seems to be lacking in data. But that’s what the CIA Factbook seems to say.