Key Sectors

The USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) engages private sector stakeholders in a collaborative process to develop and implement growth strategies across a number of high-value industries. Strategies in these sectors capitalize on Jordan’s competitive advantages and use global best practices from around the world. After a comprehensive diagnostic process with stakeholders in these sectors and in government, JCP’s initial strategy focused on three opportunity sectors: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Clean Technology (CT) and Healthcare and Life Sciences (HLS). In each of these, JCP employed an integrated approach that worked toward a more supportive enabling environment, a more developed workforce, greater access to finance, and targeted research and development. As the program evolved to meet Jordan’s needs, especially in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, JCP expanded its approach to include other key sectors with the potential to boost exports to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond. 

Information and Communications Technology   USAID has long been a partner with the Government of Jordan in envisioning and operationalizing its strategy to become a leading provider of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services in the region and beyond. In addition to USAID’s work with the individual startups [ Link ] and SMEs [ Link ] that make up the ICT sector and its work advocating for tax incentives to support ICT companies, USAID has partnered with the sector’s key stakeholders in government and the private sector to conceptualize, earn buy-in for, and launch a long-term strategy designed to bolster the Kingdon’s digital economy. Together, these interventions have helped create an ICT sector that produces the preponderance of Arabic commercial content on the Internet. With this sector continuing to grow, it is also helping Jordan retain much-needed talent and stem “brain drain” to other countries in the region and beyond.

Information and Communications Technology

USAID has long been a partner with the Government of Jordan in envisioning and operationalizing its strategy to become a leading provider of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services in the region and beyond. In addition to USAID’s work with the individual startups [Link] and SMEs [Link] that make up the ICT sector and its work advocating for tax incentives to support ICT companies, USAID has partnered with the sector’s key stakeholders in government and the private sector to conceptualize, earn buy-in for, and launch a long-term strategy designed to bolster the Kingdon’s digital economy. Together, these interventions have helped create an ICT sector that produces the preponderance of Arabic commercial content on the Internet. With this sector continuing to grow, it is also helping Jordan retain much-needed talent and stem “brain drain” to other countries in the region and beyond.

Here’s a snapshot of what JCP’s investments in the ICT sector have accomplished:

  • In its first two years, JCP engaged in two major partnerships — with Microsoft and Intel — that led to greater training and employment opportunities for Jordan’s talented young professionals. These one-off partnerships contributed to the development of Jordan’s ICT “ecosystem,” a vibrant sector fueled by young talent, smart investments, and innovation like that on display at Jordan's first-ever Maker Competition — also sponsored by JCP. Exposing Jordan’s talent to such opportunities has extended to international expositions as well, with JCP supporting the Kingdom’s first booth at a major ICT pavilion in 2016 — an effort that has already led to six-figure investments in the participating firms as well as worldwide media exposure. Working with the seed fund Oasis500, and start-up incubator iPARK, JCP has institutionalized this work to support at least three dozen successful start-ups and create more than 100 jobs. For more on JCP’s work with Oasis500, please click here. To read more about JCP’s work with iPARK, please click here.

  • At the 2016 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) ICT Forum, JCP assisted in the launch of the REACH 2025 digital economy strategy, a wide-ranging vision and action plan designed to transform the Kingdom's economy over the coming decade, making it more investment friendly and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. JCP supported development of the action plan and designed a presentation summarizing the results, which was delivered by former Jordanian ambassador to the United States H.E. Karim Kawar before an audience of high-level officials, including H.M. King Abdallah II. As part of its efforts to work behind the scenes to make this vision a reality, JCP has also worked to effect meaningful policy changes encouraging growth in the ICT sector. JCP worked with the ICT association int@j, for example, to successfully advocate for goods imported by the ICT sector to be exempt from customs duties. The decision followed sustained efforts by JCP to assist int@j in advocating for a more enabling policy environment, including JCP's development of a related policy position paper for the association, which was submitted to the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology (MoICT). To learn more about the REACH 2025 strategy, visit reach2025.net.

Clean Technology   The Jordanian government aims to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. This is both an environmental and an economic imperative. Renewable Energy (RE), such as that generated by solar panels, will help reduce reliance on carbon fuels and their rising costs; Energy Efficiency (EE), through LED and similar technologies, will boost the efficiency of Jordanian enterprises, making them more competitive. Recognizing this priority, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) has worked with the clean tech business association EDAMA as well as the Ministry of Environment and the Energy and Minerals Resource Commission (EMRC) to develop rules and regulations governing the roll out of electric vehicles across the country — a success story in its own right — as well as train renewable energy engineers to fill positions made possible by the Kingdom’s increasing transition to solar sources of energy. The latter was based on a JCP-commissioned labor study, completed early in the project’s lifetime, which showed a 25 percent year-on-year increase in demand for RE engineers in Jordan.

Clean Technology

The Jordanian government aims to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. This is both an environmental and an economic imperative. Renewable Energy (RE), such as that generated by solar panels, will help reduce reliance on carbon fuels and their rising costs; Energy Efficiency (EE), through LED and similar technologies, will boost the efficiency of Jordanian enterprises, making them more competitive. Recognizing this priority, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) has worked with the clean tech business association EDAMA as well as the Ministry of Environment and the Energy and Minerals Resource Commission (EMRC) to develop rules and regulations governing the roll out of electric vehicles across the country — a success story in its own right — as well as train renewable energy engineers to fill positions made possible by the Kingdom’s increasing transition to solar sources of energy. The latter was based on a JCP-commissioned labor study, completed early in the project’s lifetime, which showed a 25 percent year-on-year increase in demand for RE engineers in Jordan.

Here’s a snapshot of what JCP’s investments in the clean tech sector have accomplished:

  • JCP worked with the Ministry of Energy and Energy and Mineral Resources Commission (EMRC) to develop key regulations and processes critical to the RE market, including regulations for megawatt renewable energy wheeling and pooling projects, direct proposals for Independent Power Producers (IPPs), and electric vehicle charging stations licensing. This activity is a classic example of how a more enabling business environment can positively impact a country’s economy. In fact, data from the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department shows that, since JCP's EV interventions began in 2014, the number of electric vehicles on Jordan’s roads has roughly tripled each year — from 73 three years ago to nearly 5,000 in 2017.  By 2020, that number is expected to grow to more than 50,000, marking a nearly 700x return on USAID’s investment. To read more about JCP’s work building the EV sector, check out this story.

  • JCP worked with the Jordanian business association EDAMA to launch the first report on the status of the clean technology sector in Jordan. The report includes a detailed ranking of more than 365 companies working in the clean technology sector, offering a data-driven value proposition for investors seeking to partner with Jordanian companies. These companies include one of the region’s largest manufacturers of photovoltaic panels as well as several smaller companies incubated with support from JCP. To learn more about JCP’s work in the clean tech sector, check out this story.

Health and Life Sciences   As part of its initial workplan, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) classified the pharmaceutical and medical services sub-sectors together, under the category of health and life sciences. In the pharmaceutical sub-sector, JCP worked with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) to decrease a significant backlog of registrations for generic drugs and worked with both the JFDA and the private sector to improve and streamline the drug registration process. Through its partnership with the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (JAPM), JCP also provided assistance to the industry to further streamline the process for registering drugs, especially for export, by automating the registration process through implementation of an electronic Common Technical Document system (eCTD) for drug registration. Since installing the JCP-supported eCTD system, six Jordanian pharmaceutical companies have reported an additional $55,620,000 in exports.  [Link]   JCP has also worked with Contract Research Organizations (CROs) to match them with international pharma companies, an effort that has already netted million of dollars in new research contracts. Beyond its work in the pharmaceutical sector, JCP has also contributed to the development of a home healthcare industry in Jordan as well as helped boost medical tourism to the country.

Health and Life Sciences

As part of its initial workplan, the USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) classified the pharmaceutical and medical services sub-sectors together, under the category of health and life sciences. In the pharmaceutical sub-sector, JCP worked with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) to decrease a significant backlog of registrations for generic drugs and worked with both the JFDA and the private sector to improve and streamline the drug registration process. Through its partnership with the Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (JAPM), JCP also provided assistance to the industry to further streamline the process for registering drugs, especially for export, by automating the registration process through implementation of an electronic Common Technical Document system (eCTD) for drug registration. Since installing the JCP-supported eCTD system, six Jordanian pharmaceutical companies have reported an additional $55,620,000 in exports. [Link]

JCP has also worked with Contract Research Organizations (CROs) to match them with international pharma companies, an effort that has already netted million of dollars in new research contracts. Beyond its work in the pharmaceutical sector, JCP has also contributed to the development of a home healthcare industry in Jordan as well as helped boost medical tourism to the country.

Here’s a snapshot of what JCP’s investments in the health and life sciences sector have accomplished:

  • JCP worked with the JFDA to streamline and fully automate the drug registration process in Jordan to reduce pharmaceutical product time-to-market from over two years to just over one year, thus increasing the competitiveness of Jordanian pharmaceutical companies exporting to regional markets. As a net exporting sector known throughout the region for the quality of its products, Jordan’s pharmaceutical industry must consistently invest in its companies and professionals to stay at the top of its game. That’s especially important as drug manufacturers from other countries compete for a piece of lucrative markets in the Arab world. At the same time, as consumers become more sophisticated in their understanding of what makes for a quality product, Jordan’s manufacturers have had to align their operations with international best practices for quality control and inspection.

  • As part of its efforts to further streamline the work of the JFDA — removing barriers to market for the country's pharmaceutical sector — JCP worked with the agency’s inspectors to orient them to the requirements of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S). The international standard is set by regulatory authorities to ensure Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) of medicinal products. The training followed an earlier JFDA audit, also supported by JCP, which included site visits to two Jordanian pharmaceutical factories. The audit and subsequent training focused on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of internal JFDA processes, including how inspectors are assigned and how robust their evaluation methods are. To learn more about JCP’s work with the pharmaceutical sector, check out this story.

  • With JCP support, the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) institutionalized the work of its palliative care, effectively creating and professionalizing a home health care industry across Jordan. Partnering with the University of Jordan and the Jordan Nursing Council, KHCC oversaw development of a curriculum to train home healthcare professionals and, in so doing, ease the path for insurance companies to begin covering these services through their plans. To ensure the sustainability of these efforts, KHCC also formed a national committee endorsed by the Ministry of Health, which has  produced a home care strategy for the first time in Jordan’s history. The strategy would not have been possible without the pilot palliative care and training program designed in partnership with JCP experts. To read more about JCP’s work with KHCC to build a viable home healthcare industry in Jordan, check out this story.

  • JCP worked with the Private Hospital Association (PHA), a consortium of the country's top hospitals, to market Jordan as a medical tourism destination, especially in new markets. Through advertising, familiarization tours, and innovative social media campaigns, PHA evolved to play a vital role in boosting the competitiveness of this key Jordanian sector. With USAID support, PHA formed the Jordan Medical Tourism Consortium (JMTC), which consists of eight high-profile private hospitals in Jordan. Over the course of JCP's support, the JMTC saw substantial increases in both the number of patients and the number of contracts from targeted markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. For example, in 2016 the hospitals in JMTC served just 1978 patients from the targeted markets of Oman, Algeria, Chad, Kazakhstan and KSA. By 2018, the number of patients from these same markets grew to 5791. The number of contracts for these markets over the same period grew from 7 to 76.