2013-2017 USAID Jordan Country Development Cooperation Strategy


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Executive Summary

· The key challenges that Jordan is facing include a rapidly growing population, gaps in the quality of basic education, high unemployment, weak citizen participation in governance and politics, water and energy scarcity, gender disparities, and an influx of Syrian refugees

· Jordan has the ability to meet these challenges, due to its young workforce, indications that the government is receptive to policy reform, and improving health and education indicators

· Key components of the Cooperation Strategy include promoting economic development, achieving democratic accountability, improving provision of services to the public, and enhancing female empowerment. These efforts are to be carried out in a visible way, which can be more directly felt at the popular level

Key Findings

State of the Economy

· From 1999-2006, Jordan’s economy grew steadily, peaking at 1%, leading to a 2 point decrease in the poverty rate. In recent years, gains have been undermined by the global financial crisis which has led to decreased demand for Jordan’s exports and decreased investment, and by the Arab Spring which has caused a decline in tourism

· The supply of inexpensive natural gas from Egypt, which met 80% of Jordan’s electricity needs, has also been interrupted, costing Jordan USD 3-5 million per day

· In the labor force, there is a mismatch between education and the demands of the knowledge-based economy. There is also a lack of interest in vocational jobs, high levels of unemployment among youth and women, and the persistence of nepotism (wasta)

 

State of Politics and Governance

· Adequate checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are currently weak

· The judiciary in Jordan is considered slow and inefficient, and it lacks administrative and financial independence

· Jordan’s civil society and citizen participation in the public debate is weak, and the public perceives government corruption to be endemic

 

State of Social Wellbeing

· Population growth, due to high fertility rates of 3.8 children and refugee influxes, is a major constraint on development efforts. The Government has recognized this by identifying voluntary family planning as an important national effort in a 2010 report

· On the whole, education is considered strong in Jordan, as 97% of males and females are enrolled in primary school and 80% of males and 83% of females are enrolled in secondary school. However, challenges in the education system include low spending on education with 12.7% compared to 18-20% in the region, disparities in performance between rural and urban areas, overcrowded classrooms, and verbal and physical abuse in boys’ schools

· Access to water will be even more limited in Jordan, according to weather models that predict a 12-20% decrease in precipitation. Jordan will also deplete over a third of its groundwater reserves in the next two decades. The rural poor will be disproportionately impacted by water scarcity, as they pay more for water and rely on water for agricultural production

· Women continue to occupy an unequal position in Jordanian society, despite Jordan’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. An example of women’s unequal position include low rates of labor force participation estimated at 15%

Recommended Actions and Initiatives

Achieve broad-based, inclusive economic development

· Increase private sector competitiveness by supporting R&D, creating public-private partnerships, and increasing access to finance

· Increase access to workforce development opportunities for vulnerable groups, namely the poor, women, and youth

· Improve management of energy resources by focusing on efficiency and developing sustainable sources of energy, namely solar

· Strengthen efficiency of the Government’s budgetary resources by improving tax administration, establishing tighter controls on consumption, and changing spending priorities to focus on capital development

 

Strengthen democratic accountability

· Enhance the accountability of and equitable participation in the government by conducting capacity building for the Independent Election Commission, creating a space for female and young politicians, and working with political parties

· Strengthen rule of law by increasing the independence of the judiciary and strengthening the protection of women

· Increase engagement and effectiveness of civil society

 

Improve provision of essential services to the public

· Increase the use of integrated family planning and reproductive health services at the popular level

· Improve the quality of education services by building the capacity of the Ministry of Education to implement reforms, increasing educational infrastructure, and aligning training to job outcomes

· Increase the sustainable and equitable use of water resources

 

Enhance gender equality and female empowerment

· Encourage changes in social norms for women and social practices by engaging in grassroots activism and working to decrease gender based violence

· Conduct advocacy and policy reform by conducting capacity building efforts for the relevant ministries and departments

· Expand access to women-and girl-centered services in life skills and education

  

Report Name

Date

Timeline

2013-2017 USAID Jordan Country Development Cooperation Strategy

November 2012

2013-2017

Author

Supporting Donor

USAID

USAID

Sector

Lead Ministry

General

Not Relevant

Key Topics

Civil Society – Corruption – Democratic Accountability – Economic Development – Education – Energy Security – Family Planning – Female empowerment – Fiscal policy reform – Gender Equality – Governance reform – Judicial effectiveness –Knowledge-based economy – Nepotism – Population growth – Political participation– Public Services – Quality of education – R&D – Resource Management – Water Security

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