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Middle East :: Jordan
page last updated on October 28, 2009
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Introduction ::Jordan
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Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early 1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the name of Jordan in 1950. The country's long-time ruler was King HUSSEIN (1953-99). A pragmatic leader, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers (US, USSR, and UK), various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population. Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 war and barely managed to defeat Palestinian rebels who threatened to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. King HUSSEIN in 1988 permanently relinquished Jordanian claims to the West Bank. In 1989, he reinstituted parliamentary elections and initiated a gradual political liberalization; political parties were legalized in 1992. In 1994, he signed a peace treaty with Israel. King ABDALLAH II, the son of King HUSSEIN, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999. Since then, he has consolidated his power and undertaken an aggressive economic reform program. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2000, and began to participate in the European Free Trade Association in 2001. In 2003, Jordan staunchly supported the Coalition ouster of Saddam in Iraq and following the outbreak of insurgent violence in Iraq, absorbed thousands of displaced Iraqis. Municipal elections were held in July 2007 under a system in which 20% of seats in all municipal councils were reserved by quota for women. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2007 and saw independent pro-government candidates win the vast majority of seats. In November 2007, King ABDALLAH instructed his new prime minister to focus on socioeconomic reform, developing a healthcare and housing network for civilians and military personnel, and improving the educational system.
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Geography ::Jordan
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Middle East, northwest of Saudi Arabia
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31 00 N, 36 00 E
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total: 89,342 sq km
country comparison to the world: 111
land: 88,802 sq km
water: 540 sq km
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slightly smaller than Indiana
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total: 1,635 km
border countries: Iraq 181 km, Israel 238 km, Saudi Arabia 744 km, Syria 375 km, West Bank 97 km
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26 km
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territorial sea: 3 nm
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mostly arid desert; rainy season in west (November to April)
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mostly desert plateau in east, highland area in west; Great Rift Valley separates East and West Banks of the Jordan River
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lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Jabal Ram 1,734 m
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phosphates, potash, shale oil
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arable land: 3.32%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 95.5% (2005)
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750 sq km (2003)
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0.9 cu km (1997)
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total: 1.01 cu km/yr (21%/4%/75%)
per capita: 177 cu m/yr (2000)
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droughts; periodic earthquakes
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limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank
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People ::Jordan
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6,342,948 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
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0-14 years: 31.3% (male 1,014,183/female 973,538)
15-64 years: 64.5% (male 2,183,638/female 1,904,420)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 128,759/female 138,410) (2009 est.)
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total: 24.3 years
male: 25 years
female: 23.6 years (2009 est.)
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2.264% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
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19.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
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2.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
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5.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
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urban population: 78% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 14.97 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 128
male: 17.91 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 78.87 years
country comparison to the world: 38
male: 76.34 years
female: 81.56 years (2009 est.)
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2.39 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
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less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
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600 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
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fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
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noun: Jordanian(s)
adjective: Jordanian
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Arab 98%, Circassian 1%, Armenian 1%
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Sunni Muslim 92%, Christian 6% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), other 2% (several small Shia Muslim and Druze populations) (2001 est.)
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Arabic (official), English widely understood among upper and middle classes
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 84.7% (2003 est.)
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total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2006)
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4.9% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 77
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Government ::Jordan
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conventional long form: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
conventional short form: Jordan
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah
local short form: Al Urdun
former: Transjordan
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constitutional monarchy
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name: Amman
geographic coordinates: 31 57 N, 35 56 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Thursday in March; ends last Friday in September
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12 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, Madaba
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25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
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Independence Day, 25 May (1946)
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1 January 1952; amended many times
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based on Islamic law and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in a specially provided High Tribunal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: King ABDALLAH II (since 7 February 1999); Crown Prince HUSSEIN (born 28 June 1994), eldest son of King ABDALLAH II
head of government: Prime Minister Nader al-DAHABI (since 25 November 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the monarch
elections: the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch
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bicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-'Umma consists of the Senate, also called the House of Notables or Majlis al-Ayan (55 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies, also called the House of Representatives or Majlis al-Nuwaab (110 seats; members elected using a single, non-transferable vote system in multi-member districts to serve four-year terms); note - six seats are reserved for women, nine seats are reserved for Christian candidates, nine seats are reserved for Bedouin candidates, and three seats are reserved for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 November 2007 (next scheduled to be held in 2011)
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - IAF 6, independents and other 104; note - seven women serve in the Assembly, six of whom filled women's quota seats and one was directly elected
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Court of Cassation (Supreme Court)
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Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party [Fuad DABBOUR]; Ba'ath Arab Progressive Party [Tayseer al-HAMSI]; Call Party [Mohammed Abu BAKR]; Democratic People's Party [Ahmad Yusuf 'ALIYA]; Democratic Popular Unity Party [Sa'ed DIAB]; Islamic Action Front or IAF [Ishaq al-FARHAN]; Islamic Center Party [Marwan al-FA'OURI; Jordanian Communist Party [Munir HAMARNEH]; Jordanian National Party [Mona Abu BAKR]; Jordanian United Front [Amjad al-MAJALI]; Life Party [Thaher 'AMROU]; Message Party [Hazem QASHOU]; National Constitution Party [Ahmed al-SHUNAQ]; National Movement for Direct Democracy [Mohammed al-QAQ];
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Anti-Normalization Committee [Ali Abu SUKKAR, president vice chairman]; Jordan Bar Association [Saleh al-ARMUTI, chairman]; Jordanian Press Association [Sayf al-SHARIF, president]; Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood [Dr. Hamam SAID, controller general]
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ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador ZEID Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, Prince
chancery: 3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-2664
FAX: [1] (202) 966-3110
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chief of mission: Ambassador Robert S. BEECROFT
embassy: Abdoun, Amman
mailing address: P. O. Box 354, Amman 11118 Jordan; Unit 70200, Box 5, DPO AE 09892-0200
telephone: [962] (6) 590-6000
FAX: [962] (6) 592-0121
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three equal horizontal bands of black (top), representing the Abbassid Caliphate, white, representing the Ummayyad Caliphate, and green, representing the Fatimid Caliphate; a red isosceles triangle on the hoist side, representing the Great Arab Revolt of 1916, and bearing a small white seven-pointed star symbolizing the seven verses of the opening Sura (Al-Fatiha) of the Holy Koran; the seven points on the star represent faith in One God, humanity, national spirit, humility, social justice, virtue, and aspirations; design is based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I
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Economy ::Jordan
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Jordan is a small Arab country with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation are fundamental problems, but King ABDALLAH II, since assuming the throne in 1999, has undertaken some broad economic reforms in a long-term effort to improve living standards. Since Jordan's graduation from its most recent IMF program in 2002, Amman has continued to follow IMF guidelines, practicing careful monetary policy, making substantial headway with privatization, and opening the trade regime. Jordan's exports have significantly increased under the free trade accord with the US and Jordanian Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ), which allow Jordan to export goods with some Israeli content duty free to the US. In 2006 and 2008, Jordan used privatization proceeds to significantly reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio. These measures have helped improve productivity and have made Jordan more attractive for foreign investment. The government ended subsidies for petroleum and other consumer goods in 2008 in an effort to control the budget. The main challenges facing Jordan are reducing dependence on foreign grants, reducing the growing budget deficit, attracting investments, and creating jobs. Jordan is currently exploring nuclear power generation to forestall energy shortfalls. Jordan's conservative banking sector has been largely protected from the worldwide financial crisis, but many businesses, particularly in the tourism and real estate sector, are predicting a slow-down in 2009.
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$31.61 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
$29.93 billion (2007 est.)
$28.07 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$20.03 billion (2008 est.)
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5.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
6.6% (2007 est.)
8% (2006 est.)
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$5,100 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$4,900 (2007 est.)
$4,800 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 29.9%
services: 66.5% (2008 est.)
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1.615 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
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agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 20%
services: 77.4% (2001 est.)
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12.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
13.5% (2007 est.)
note: official rate; unofficial rate is approximately 30%
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14.2% (2002)
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lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (2006)
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39.7 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 63
36.4 (1997)
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32.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
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revenues: $5.67 billion
expenditures: $7.66 billion (2008 est.)
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62.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
85.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
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14.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
5.4% (2007 est.)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 56
7% (31 December 2007)
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8.45% (31 December 2008)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
$6.765 billion (31 December 2007)
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$17.98 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 54
$15.38 billion (31 December 2007)
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$25.05 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
$19.53 billion (31 December 2007)
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$35.85 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
$41.22 billion (31 December 2007)
$29.73 billion (31 December 2006)
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citrus, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives; sheep, poultry, stone fruits, strawberries, dairy
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clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphate mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining, cement, inorganic chemicals, light manufacturing, tourism
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5.7% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
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12.21 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
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10.4 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
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176 million kWh (2007 est.)
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200 million kWh (2007 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
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108,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
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108,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
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1 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
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250 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
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2.97 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 164
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2.72 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
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6.031 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
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$-2.425 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
$-2.767 billion (2007 est.)
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$7.783 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
$5.7 billion (2007 est.)
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clothing, fertilizers, potash, phosphates, vegetables, pharmaceuticals
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US 16%, Iraq 13.4%, UAE 8.1%, India 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 7.8%, Syria 4.6% (2008)
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$15.03 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$12.02 billion (2007 est.)
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crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, iron, cereals
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Saudi Arabia 20.3%, China 9.7%, Germany 6.5%, US 5.6% (2008)
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$8.713 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
$7.929 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$6.83 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
$8.133 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$16.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
$14.55 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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Jordanian dinars (JOD) per US dollar - 0.709 (2008 est.), 0.709 (2007), 0.709 (2006), 0.709 (2005), 0.709 (2004)
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Communications ::Jordan
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519,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 95
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5.314 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 84
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general assessment: service has improved recently with increased use of digital switching equipment; microwave radio relay transmission and coaxial and fiber-optic cable are employed on trunk lines; growing mobile-cellular usage in both urban and rural areas is reducing use of fixed-line services; Internet penetration remains modest and slow-growing
domestic: 1995 telecommunications law opened all non-fixed-line services to private competition; in 2005, monopoly over fixed-line services terminated and the entire telecommunications sector was opened to competition; mobile-cellular usage has increased and teledensity reached 85 per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 962; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe; satellite earth stations - 33 (3 Intelsat, 1 Arabsat, and 29 land and maritime Inmarsat terminals); fiber-optic cable to Saudi Arabia and microwave radio relay link with Egypt and Syria; participant in Medarabtel (2008)
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FM 31 (2007)
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22 (2007)
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.jo
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28,896 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 92
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1.5 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 74
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Transportation ::Jordan
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17 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 142
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total: 15
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
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1 (2009)
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gas 439 km; oil 49 km (2008)
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total: 507 km
country comparison to the world: 115
narrow gauge: 507 km 1.050-m gauge (2008)
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total: 8,002 km
country comparison to the world: 141
paved: 8,002 km (2007)
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total: 21
country comparison to the world: 97
by type: cargo 8, container 1, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 13 (UAE 13)
registered in other countries: 24 (Algeria 7, Bahamas 2, Panama 13, Syria 2) (2008)
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Al 'Aqabah
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Military ::Jordan
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Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF): Royal Jordanian Land Force (RJLF), Royal Jordanian Navy, Royal Jordanian Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya al-Urduniya, RJAF), Special Operations Command (Socom); Public Security Directorate (normally falls under Ministry of Interior, but comes under JAF in wartime or crisis) (2008)
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17 years of age for voluntary military service; male conscription at age 18 - suspended in 1999 - resurrected in July 2007 in order to provide youth training necessary for job market needs; all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions in the Royal Jordanian Arab Army Women's Corps (2009)
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males age 16-49: 1,812,551
females age 16-49: 1,559,155 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 1,593,919
females age 16-49: 1,382,097 (2009 est.)
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male: 69,830
female: 67,292 (2009 est.)
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8.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 5
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Transnational Issues ::Jordan
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approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan; 2004 Agreement settles border dispute with Syria pending demarcation
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refugees (country of origin): 1,835,704 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)); 500,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 160,000 (1967 Arab-Israeli War) (2007)
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current situation: Jordan is a destination and transit country for women and men from South and Southeast Asia trafficked for the purpose of forced labor; Jordan is also a destination for women from Eastern Europe and Morocco for prostitution; women from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to work as domestic servants, but some are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Jordan is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of law enforcement against trafficking for forced labor; the government made minimal efforts to investigate or prosecute numerous allegations related to exploitation of foreign domestic workers; Jordan failed for a second year to criminally prosecute and punish those who committed acts of forced labor; Jordan also continues to lack victim protection services; Jordan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
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The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
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