Enabling Environment

No economy can reach its full potential without the right laws and regulations in place to encourage investment, stimulate exports, and foster growth. Known collectively as a country’s enabling environment, these factors are a key focus of development programs and the governments with which they work. Through its intimate knowledge of Jordan’s high-value knowledge-economy sectors, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) 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 business environment. In the clean tech sector, for example, JCP helped push through state-of-the-art wheeling and pooling regulations that have unlocked the potential of the renewable energy sector, including a multi-million dollar effort to generate solar-powered electricity for private hospitals and municipalities in Jordan’s two largest cities, Amman and Irbid. Also in the clean tech sector, JCP developed instructions for installing and managing electric vehicle charging stations, a move that has helped grow that nascent sector exponentially. In the ICT sector, JCP was instrumental in advocating for tax incentives for companies exporting Jordanian expertise and products overseas. And economy-wide, the USAID program successfully assisted the Government of Jordan to accede to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), a key development that now allows Jordanian innovators to register their intellectual property in 152 countries worldwide.

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Keeping Jordan’s Intellectual Property at Home

Jordan has no shortage of creative minds, and the country has the potential to create its share of lucrative intellectual property, competing with other nations in the region and the world. In fact, several USAID-supported initiatives — from the seed investment fund Oasis500 to the startup incubator iPARK, which have created scores of new ideas and the businesses to develop and grow them — attest to this potential. The challenge, however, is that many of these creative minds have too often sought to develop their ideas elsewhere, seeking countries where their inventions can be safe from patent infringement and have room to grow. Now, thanks to USAID’s partnership with the Government of Jordan, that can happen right here at home.   

Working with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MoITS), in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP), assisted Jordan with its accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), making the Kingdom the 152nd member of the WIPO-administered intellectual property treaty. The PCT is an international agreement that is administered by WIPO to facilitate the acquisition of patent rights in member states while streamlining the process for patent applications. The treaty helps applicants secure international patent protection for their inventions, helping patent offices with their patent-granting decisions and facilitating public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions. By filing one international patent application using the PCT route, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in all member countries.

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Acceding to the Patent Cooperation Treaty

Working with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MoITS), in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP), assisted Jordan with its accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The Kingdom became the 152nd member of the WIPO-administered intellectual property treaty. The PCT is an international agreement that is administered by WIPO to facilitate the acquisition of patent rights in member states while streamlining the process for patent applications. The treaty helps applicants secure international patent protection for their inventions, helping patent offices with their patent-granting decisions and facilitating public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions. By filing one international patent application using the PCT route, applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in all member countries. 

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Online Tool Empowers Jordanian SMEs to Access Bank Lending

Even if they find ways to register their ideas into patents and licensed operations, many Jordanian entrepreneurs lack the financial resources to grow these budding businesses into substantial companies, generating exponentially greater revenue and employing more of their fellow country-men and -women. To realize that growth, these entrepreneurs need access to credit from formal financial service providers, including mainstream banks. The challenge has been that these providers have been reluctant to lend to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the strength of their ideas alone. Instead, as with any potential credit client, these SMEs have needed collateral to secure their loan applications. With few physical assets to their names, however, listing collateral has been a challenge for SMEs. Now, thanks to a USAID-supported initiative, that’s about to change.             

The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MoITS), has developed an Online Movable Collateral Registry to support a law on financial leasing and create an automated centralized data registry that will allow leasing companies to register and document active leasing notices for future searches and protecting rights. The MoITS is the official owner of the Registry and is responsible for managing and following up on it. During the past year, JCP, in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and under the supervision of MoITS, worked on developing the online registry and its supporting instructions. The current registry was designed to accommodate another credit-related law, the “Secured Lending Law,” which was passed in 2018 and will expand lending volumes that are secured by all sorts of movable assets, including by banks and other financial institutions. The law will create an important foundation for protecting the rights of banks and other financial institutions targeting SMEs and microfinance companies and is expected to increase lending to SMEs by 7%, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment to these firms.

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Online Movable Collateral Registry

The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MoITS), has developed an Online Movable Collateral Registry to support the "Law on Financial Leasing 2008" and become the first automated centralized data registry that will allow leasing companies to register and document active leasing notices for future searches and protecting rights . The MoITS is the official owner of the Registry and is responsible for managing and following up on it. During the past year, JCP, in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and under the supervision of MoITS, worked on developing the online registry and its supporting instructions. The current registry was designed to accommodate another credit-related law that is currently being discussed in the parliament, the “Secured Lending Law,” which will expand lending volumes that are secured by all sorts of movable assets, including by banks and other financial institutions. The law will create an important foundation for protecting the rights of banks and other financial institutions targeting SMEs and microfinance companies.

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