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With a population of 6.2 million and a per capita GDP of around $4,900, Jordan occupies an area of about 89,000 square kilometers. The Kingdom is classified as an upper middle-income country. The country has limited natural resources (phosphate and potash are its main exported commodities).
The Jordanian economy is one of the most open in the region. It is well-integrated regionally through migration and remittances, trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism. To build a thriving private sector, Jordan is a signatory of a number of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Moreover, the Jordan Investment Board (JIB), whose aim is to facilitate the registration and licensing procedures for private sector project, was founded in 1995.
Underlying the spirit of openness, Jordan moved up the rankings (World Competitiveness Report) by 7 places in 2012 to attain the 64th spot. This improvement is largely captured by the innovation pillar (up 20 ranks), business sophistication (13 ranks) and by the goods market efficiency pillar (10 ranks) and its sub-unit (tax rate as a proportion of profits) which moved up the rankings from 39 to 27. However, the challenge to improving national competitiveness remains to be the macroeconomic pillar.
To serve the financial needs of the national economy, Jordan boasts a large financial services sector and one of the oldest stock markets in the region. Total assets of the banking sector are equivalent to 180 percent of GDP and this is higher than that in the GCC countries (110 percent). The regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets is equal to 19.5 percent and this is indeed indicative of a sound banking system. Also, it is estimated that the 28 insurance firms which operate in Jordan issued the equivalent of 2.0 to 2.2 percent of GDP in premiums.
The Jordanian capital market (established in 1978) lists all Jordanian banks and insurance firms and most of the largest service and manufacturing firms in the country (247) in total, has a market capitalization to GDP ratio equal to about 100 percent and 50 percent of its capitalization is owned by non-Jordanians.