Jordan was ranked 39th freest economy globally and second regionally after the UAE in the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW): 2017 Annual Report, published by the Canadian Fraser Institute.
The Kingdom achieved a rating of 7.47 out of 10 in the EFW index, which ranks a total of 159 countries to analyse the impact of cross-country differences in economic freedom and freedom variations across three decades, according to the report.
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In an interview with The Jordan Times, economist Zayyan Zawaneh said such a high ranking “is a reflection of how Jordan has been following the path to the free economy since the fifties, when many other countries in the region shifted to socialist and Marxist systems.”
“However, over the past 20 years, this free economy has not been reflected positively on the situation of the Jordanian people and on the overall economy,” he stressed.
Economist Isam Qadamani outlined some obstacles facing economic freedom in Jordan. “If a businessperson wants to build a company in Jordan, he or she will have to face a series of bureaucratic procedures,” he said, adding that Jordan “needs to increase transparency in economic matters.”
“There is a reason why foreign investors are not coming to Jordan, and that is the need for easy and transparent procedures and [legislative] stability in an economy that changes every day,” he continued.
Furthermore, the economist highlighted the issue of unemployment, noting that the “government needs to facilitate the work of private companies in order to solve this problem.”
The EFW index measures the degree to which national policies and institutions are supportive of economic freedom, highlighting personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete and security of the person and privately owned property as the cornerstones of this freedom.
A total of 42 data points were used to construct the general summary index, and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five specific areas.
In this regard, Jordan achieved 7.38 points out of 10 in the “size of the government” area, 4.76 in “legal system and property rights”, 9.6 in “sound money”, 7.63 in “freedom to trade internationally”, and 7.92 in “regulation”.
This year’s study also included an adjustment for gender disparity in order to “take into account the fact that in many nations, women are not legally accorded the same level of economic freedom as men,” according to the report.
Jordan ranked 0.49 out of 1 in the gender disparity index, entering the list of countries with the lowest scores.
The rating in gender disparity caused Jordan to go down 22 positions in the general ranking, becoming the 4th country most affected by this score after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.
By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto