The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) works with policymakers, business associations, and the private sector to: 1) draft and advocate for enabling legislation and regulation; 2) leverage these policy interventions to stimulate exports and attract foreign direct investment, especially to Jordan's specially designated development zones; and 3) ensure that these investments result in employment opportunities for Jordanians and, where appropriate, other residents of the Kingdom.
To these ends, JCP works closely with other USAID programs and relevant Government of Jordan entities to identify investment opportunities made possible by the Jordan Compact—which includes, among other stipulations, relaxed rules of origin for Jordanian exports to the European Union. By coordinating closely with the Compact's Program Management Unit (PMU), which is housed at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, JCP seeks to add value to the current efforts of the broader donor community.
From developing forward-thinking policies that make it easier for outside investors to set up businesses in Jordan, to working with the government and private-sector institutions to promote Jordan as an investment destination, to facilitating individual investments—the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program adds value at every level of the investment continuum.
To assist the Government of Jordan with managing agreements with the international community aimed at mitigating the effects of the Syria refugee crisis and turning that crisis into an economic development opportunity, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program established the Jordan Compact Project Management Unit (PMU) at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.
Jordan has long been known as a regional export powerhouse, but with virtually all of the country’s neighboring markets either consumed by war or its cascading impact on their economies, the Kingdom has had to develop an agile strategy for looking toward new markets. The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program has been at the forefront of this effort.
Entrepreneurship & Employment
Recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurship are key to competitiveness, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program worked to help create a center for innovation and entrepreneurship at the King Hussein Business Park and to engage major supporting organizations in the innovation ecosystem.
Through its intimate knowledge of Jordan’s high-value knowledge-economy sectors, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program has been well-positioned to work with key sector players in the private and public spheres to advocate for measures—including laws and regulations—that create a more enabling environment for local businesses and international investors.
To leverage Jordan’s competitive advantages and apply global best practices from around the world, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program conducted comprehensive diagnostic analyses to develop a strategy focused on three opportunity sectors: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Clean Technology (CT) and Healthcare and Life Sciences (HLS).
The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program's (JCP) work supporting the electric vehicle industry modeled a “vertically integrated” approach to development, removing obstacles at all levels of the economy. From drafting and helping pass the regulation needed to capture and sell solar-generated electricity at charging stations, to negotiating the partnerships that enabled private-sector investment in those stations, USAID JCP has helped Jordan go from a country with no electric vehicles to a market that now includes Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, among others.
With USAID support, Oasis500, the country’s first-of-its-kind seed investor and a model for others throughout the region, has implemented 11 boot camps with 240 entrepreneurs, held seven investment events with new investors; and conducted one national entrepreneurship competition, where around 300 applicants participated. Oasis500 has also conducted a fundraising training session and concluded 30 different awareness sessions. All told, these efforts have paid off through more than three-quarters of a million dollars invested in 15 startups and leveraged a quarter-million dollars through follow-up investment.
In this short vignette, watch how the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) has supported inventors like Dr. Saif Al-Ryalat to register and protect their patents worldwide. The video is part of a series being compiled by JCP to document the human impact of the program over the last five years.