flag Jordan Jordan: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Jordan | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities

 

FDI in Figures

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows showed a strong rebound in 2021, up 77% to an estimated USD 1.65 trillion, from 929 billion in 2020, surpassing their pre-COVID19 level. FDI flows in developing countries increased by 30% but almost three quarters of the total increase in global FDI (USD 500 billion) was recorder in developed economies, with developing economies showing a more modest recovery growth. FDI inflows to West Asia and the Middle East increased by more than 49% in 2021 to 90 billion USD (UNCTAD, January 2022).

Historically, the Jordanian economy has benefited from massive investment by the Gulf countries, which continued to skyrocket until 2006. However, since then FDI has declined due to the international economic crisis, followed by geopolitical instability. The situation was compounded by the health and economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to UNCTAD's 2021 World Investment Report, FDI inflows totalled USD 726 million in 2020, virtually unchanged from the previous year (USD 730 million). FDI to Jordan was diversified,  with notable investments in manufacturing, real estate and services. The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 36.5 billion in 2020. In order to boost FDI flows, the Government has planned large-scale infrastructure projects (water, transportation, nuclear energy) for which it needs foreign and private funds. A project connecting the Dead Sea to the Red Sea was supposed to start in 2018, but was delayed because Jordan failed to reach an agreement with Israel on how to build the canal. The project was further delayed in 2019 because relations between Israel and Jordan soured on Palestine. Finally in June 2021, Jordan decided to cancel the joint project with Israel and the Palestinian Authority after years of stagnation of the plan.

Jordan is seeking to become a regional logistics hub, notably for electric and transport networks. Investments are mainly concentrated in the field of real estate (residential and commercial), financial services and large tourism projects. The country's attractiveness lies mainly in the quality of its infrastructure, its solid and dynamic banking system, as well as its level of economic openness, which has allowed the establishment of free trade zones and public-private partnerships. The Government introduced a new initiative to encourage investment, including offering investors a single-window application facility through the Jordanian Investment Commission. Problems linked to bureaucracy, corruption and investment protection are obstacles to FDI. Jordan was ranked 75th out of 190 countries in the last World Bank's 2020 Doing Business Report, up by 29 ranks from a year earlier. This significant jump, marking a contrast with years of decline, was mainly a result of considerable improvement with regards to the access of private firms to credit.

Jordan Foreign Direct Investment increased by 165.9 million USD in the September 2021 quarter, compared with an increase of 135 million USD in the previous quarter (CEIC Data, 2022).

 
 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 730760622
FDI Stock (million USD) 35,76036,59037,305
Number of Greenfield Investments* 2676
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2,290224343

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Jordan

Strong Points

The main advantages of Jordan are:

  • Its political stability built around King Abdullah, who remains very popular and has the support of the army
  • Its geographical location and very good international relations (with the EU, the IMF, the Gulf monarchies and the United States), which allow it to have the financial, political and logistic support of the international community
  • A growth rate above the region's standards, favoured by a significant production of phosphate and potash and by a well-developed tourism sector
  • Control of public expenditure
  • Low cost and well-educated labour in the Arab world
  • Favourable business environment
  • Modern and well-connected infrastructure
  • Special economic zones across the country (either Development Zones or Free Zones)
Weak Points

Jordan's main weaknesses in attracting FDI are:

  • Political tensions in the region with the proximity of Iraq, Syria and Israel. On the domestic front, the massive influx of Iraqi refugees, added to the large presence of Palestinian refugees, is a risk factor for social cohesion.
  • A very large structural trade deficit linked to its lack of natural resources and food products leading to a high dependence on external aid
  • Very high unemployment rate (19.1% in 2019 - Jordan's Department of Statistics, latest data available) that fuels social tensions
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Jordan, under King Abdallah's leadership, has developed a progressive economic liberalisation policy that favours foreign investment. The special economic areas, such as the Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) and the Free Zone of Agaba offer very advantageous tax regimes for companies. Also, the government has simplified the registration procedures for foreign companies by creating the Jordan Investment Commission. Finally, the Jordanian State has launched a campaign of privatisation which has benefited public and private partnerships in several sectors. Among the main measures set up by the government are:

  • Income tax exemption during 10 years, variable depending on the place and sector of activity
  • Tax exemption on income generated from the export of goods and services
  • Repatriation of  capital, profits and salaries without charges

The Jordan Economic Growth Plan 2018-2022, will put Jordan on a path of sustainable growth and double Jordan's economic growth, at a minimum, according to a report released by the Economic Policy Council. 
Furthermore, based on Jordan's "Vision 2025", the economic growth plan is expected to gradually rise from 6.5% in 2021 to 7.5% in 2025. This measure seeks to boost Jordan's economic growth. It is effectively supported by the Jordanian government, which has been cutting bureaucracy and paperwork, improving its economic legislative environment and harmonizing its economic operations. 

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
It is guaranteed except in some sectors which are considered to be sensitive such as publishing, publication, aeronautics, architecture or engineering. Some sectors are totally forbidden to foreign companies such as security services and the maintenance of law and order, sports clubs or passenger transport. The US State Department gives a complete list of the limitations.
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest in the capital of a local company is legal in Jordan, except in certain sectors where foreign interest cannot exceed 49%.
Obligation to Declare
The Agency for the promotion of foreign investment in the country provides information about the necessary authorizations for setting up business.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
The website of the Amman Stock Exchange listing the restrictions on foreign investment.
Jordan's Securities Commission
Requests For Specific Authorisations
There is no obligation to declare in Jordan. However, in some sectors such as commercial activities, engineering, transport services... foreign capital invested in the company may not be more than 50% of the total capital. In other sectors such as freight or postal services, this share is reduced to 49%.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Jordan Investment Commission
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, null
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DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
10 Reasons to Invest in Jordan - Amman Stock Exchange
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022