New Jordan-US MoU to help revive Kingdom’s economy — experts

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His Majesty King Abdullah meets with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 16, 2022. (Photo: Royal Court)
AMMAN — The US intention to enter into a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support Jordan with at least $1.45 billion annually between 2023 and 2029 will greatly help revive the Jordanian economy, experts contacted by Jordan News said.اضافة اعلان

US aid to Jordan is the most important and largest assistance the Kingdom has received; it is long term and increasing significantly year after year, economists interviewed said, with many urging the concerned authorities to use this aid, by investing in mega projects, for example, to address the challenges facing Jordan, including the most prominent: unemployment.

Economist Mohammad Al-Basheer told Jordan News that “the US support for Jordan has been going on for years” and that “the US is an important ally of Jordan”, adding, however, that it “is still small compared to the support provided by the US to Israel”.

Basheer agrees that the US assistance could help the private sector establish mega projects, and help “address the challenges related to the agricultural sector, industry, and infrastructure, as well as with the expansion of ports and with strategic projects such as railways”.

“The US is helping Jordan to stand on its feet again and revive its economy, and this is very important,” he stressed, adding that Jordan still suffers from a big budget deficit and this aid should help Jordan reach the stage “where it can be completely self-reliant”.

Economist Husam Ayesh told Jordan News that “US aid to Jordan is long term, continuous, steady, and increasing”, and that is proof that “Jordan is an important ally for the US”.

He added that a large part of the US aid has a major role in reducing the budget deficit, which “is an important goal in itself”.

“This continuous aid helps the government plan to establish some mega projects,” he said, adding that “the government is required to be transparent about the projects it intends to establish and about where these grants go, since these subsidies do not only come to fill the shortfall,” but should help increase revenues.

Economist Mazen Irshaid told Jordan News that the new MoU distinguishes itself through “some positive things”.

“First is that it comes as an extension of previously signed agreements, such as the one between 2018 and 2022, which is about to expire and which was of a lower value than the new MoU ($1.275 billion per year) that covers seven years, unlike the four previous agreements that were extended for three years only,” he said.

He said that “the US is the biggest supporter of Jordan in terms of grants”, as well as in terms of projects executed with US aid, like the free zone agreement, which “is the most successful”, with Jordan exporting $1 billion worth of goods to the US annually.

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh told Jordan News that “this MoU reflects the US political commitment to supporting Jordan and its stability, strengthens the partnership between the two countries, and aims to help the Kingdom meet its needs and support the economic reform program”.

It will have a positive impact on the economy, he said, adding that “this aid must support sectors to achieve good economic growth”.

At the same time, he said, it is important to work with transparency and accountability in order to achieve good economic growth, adding that these funds need to support promising sectors to help the Kingdom achieve its economic modernization vision.

“This aid will help Jordan get out of the economic impasse it finds itself in,” and face challenges, “including the budget deficit and unemployment,” he said.

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