Jordan: Slow growth, but revival on course

Growth this year is expected to be driven by a recovery in exports and a revival in tourism. Funding from the London initiative should also help finance the current account and maintain reserves at an adequate level. While there is a large untapped export potential in Jordan’s agricultural sector, another budding growth area is in coding.

Higher demand and prices for fertiliser, along with strong partnerships with some Asian partners, could bring new opportunities for growth both downstream and upstream in Jordan’s phosphate supply chain. The IMF in April revised Jordan’s growth forecast down to 2.2% for 2019 from its previous 2.5% projection. This would still be higher than 2018’s 1.9%.

Overall, the economy remains on a relatively slow-growth path. This is partially due to spill-over effects from regional conflicts taking their toll on investor confidence.The bright spots, however, are an increase in exports and good growth in tourism. These are expected to help reduce the current account deficit to 9.9% of GDP in 2019 from 10.3% in 2018 and 11.33% in 2017.

In May, an agritech accelerator was launched by ITG Solutions, dubbed HASSAD Agritech, a first for the country. The aim is to support start-ups within the agricultural sector. Another potential growth area for Jordan is in coding, a high-tech field that is particularly suitable for the country’s educated but underemployed youth.

Phosphate Industry: Cementing ties with Asia Jordan’s phosphate production increased to 8.8 million metric tonnes (MMT) last year from 6 MMT in 2000 as a result of modernising measures taken by the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. (JPMC). The company is targeting 9.2 MMT in production for 2019, with 57% planned for export.

Rising demand and prices, coupled with partnerships cemented with some of Jordan’s Asian partners, could bring new opportunities for growth both downstream and upstream in the fertiliser supply chain. Jordan has the 5th largest reserve of phosphate in the world, equalling 1 BMT, and JPMC (which has a monopoly on mine production) is the second largest exporter.

The main destinations for phosphate rock exports from Jordan are India (66.8%), Indonesia (15.5%), Serbia (4.2%), Bangladesh (3.1%), and Australia (1.7%). ➢ The major phosphate fertiliser export destinations are India (38%), Turkey (23%) and Iraq (13%).

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