Jordan, Treasure of the Middle-East

Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is located on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing control of the Dead Sea.

Jordan's only is port is at its south-western tip, at the Gulf of Aqaba, which is shared with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Over half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. However, the western part of Jordan is made of arable land and forests. Jordan is part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city is Amman.

Although it is a constitutional monarchy, it is served by a representative government. The head of the state is the reigning ruler, King Abdullah II, who is also the chief executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

With mostly urbanized cities, Jordan is a modern Arab country. The population of Jordan is 6.1 million, of which 92% are Sunni Muslim and the rest being primarily Christian and Shia. Up to 57% of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin.

Due to the implementation of liberal economic policies, the nation has become one of the most competitive Middle Eastern economies. Jordan boasts a modern and developed banking system and has been attracting significant foreign investment in recent years. This has also enabled the country to minimize the effects of the global financial downturn of the late 2000s. Jordan enjoys healthy relations with the UK, the US and Canada, being a pro-western regime.

Jordan's GDP (PPP) was $34.617 billion in 2010, which makes it the 98th largest economy in the world, up from $33.175 billion in 2009. 2004-2008 were good years for Jordanians, with the economy registering consistent 8% and above growth rates. Although Jordan struggled during the financial crisis, it still managed to grow, at a 2.35% rate in 2009 and 3.4% in 2010. Growth is expected to be in the 4-5.5% from 2012 to 2015.

Jordan's trade sector is growing rapidly and emerging as a stable alternative to an unstable region. The country ranked fourth in the Middle East in the 2009 Global Trade Enabling Report, after the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.

The country has abundant sources of potash and phosphate, which contribute a major share to its exports and has signed more Free Trade Agreements than any other Arab country - FTAs with the EU, the United States, Canada, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Singapore, Malaysia and Lybia. Jordan is also part of the Agadir Agreement, the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement and the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement.

Jordan is rapidly developing its ICT sector as well as export-oriented industries. It is also recognized as the Middle East's third most industrialized economy in the Competitive Industrial Performance Index (CIP), behind Turkey and Kuwait. Some of the main industries in Jordan are fertilizers, mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism and clothing.