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Country Reports

Jordan Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Jordanian security forces are priority targets for jihadists returning from Syria, and radicalised members in the security forces. Successful attacks using explosives to decrease public confidence in the state occur once to twice a year. US support for Jordan's counter-terrorism operations has mitigated the likelihood of successful larger or more complex attacks. Peaceful protests pose the main threat to political stability. More co-ordinated opposition is likely to reinvigorate demonstrations in 2019–20 over salaries, unemployment, the cost of living, against Jordan's foreign policy, and include demands for political reform such as parliamentary government, putting both Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz's and King Abdullah II's roles at risk. The king will need to acquiesce to such reforms given rising poverty and youth unemployment; we assess that reduced executive powers are likely in the three-year outlook. Any concession on King Abdullah's part regarding the US peace proposal between Palestinians and Israel would erode public support for the king and likely result in mass protests involving a million in Amman alone. Outright acceptance is very unlikely.Jordan's real GDP growth is forecast to be 2.1% in 2019 versus 2.0% projected for 2018. Policymakers are trying to build on a 2018 strengthening of ownership rights with legislation making it easier to start businesses and then operate them through simplified payments systems. High outstanding public-sector debt (almost 100% of GDP) makes the economy heavily reliant on continuing international donor inflows to support Syrian refugees and develop physical infrastructure to accommodate them. This, in turn, makes Jordan's government susceptible to pressure from Saudi Arabia and its allies attempting to leverage aid for support to the US's Israel-Palestinian peace plan. The king is highly unlikely to jeopardise the peace treaty with Israel or vital bilateral trade agreements, particularly the deal to import Israeli gas.
Last update: November 19, 2019

Operational Outlook

Jordan is working on an economic growth stimulus package with the World Bank for 2018–22. The package includes labour, transport, energy, and water sector reforms, and will request existing major donors to provide soft loans to future budgets. Pressure from the IMF encourages the state's incentive to attract foreign investment, particularly in qualified industrial zones and the Aqaba special economic zone and increasing online state services. Corruption has increased with more private businesses represented in parliament after constitutional reforms in 2016. Discussed labour market regulations include prioritising the local workforce, likely increasing restrictions on Syrian, guest, and domestic worker permits.

Last update: September 20, 2019

Terrorism

High

Jordan remains a high-value aspirational target for Sunni jihadists. Returning jihadists and radicalisation among low-level members of the security forces pose the biggest threats to security forces and tourist sites. Experience abroad improves militants' combat experience and operational knowledge. The small number of incidents during the past five years underscores the high capabilities of the security services. The risk of terrorist attacks would increase in the unlikely event that the king approved the US's peace plan. Islamic State cells would exploit likely excessive force by the state against protesters for increased recruitment and attacks against state targets, notably security services.

Last update: September 20, 2019

Crime

Although crime in Jordan is relatively rare, levels of attempted murder, murder, aggravated assault, and kidnapping has increased in 2018 compared with 2010. The Public Security Directorate (PSD)'s Criminal Information Department stated that there were 24,654 crimes in total committed in 2018, compared with 21,167 committed in 2009. The crime rate per 10,000 people was 24 in 2018, having decreased from 35 per 10,000 in 2009 and a high of 44 per 10,000 in 2011 and 2012. Areas surrounding Syrian refugee camps and close to the Syrian border, particularly poverty stricken towns like Zarqa and Irbid, are susceptible to weapons, human and sex trafficking and the associated criminal activity. Criminality and abductions in these areas primarily affect Syrian refugees and Jordanians from poor districts as opposed to tourists, international NGO workers, affluent urban Jordanians or cargo passing through those areas. Burglary and petty offences are common, particularly targeting expatriates and tourists. Pickpockets and con-artists commonly operate in the crowded streets of the old city of Amman. University campuses also historically see higher levels of crime, with violent disputes often reported during university election periods.

Sexual harassment also continues to be a problem, including stalking, indecent exposure and unwanted physical contact. Jordan made countering harassment one of its main policy objectives in 2018. In November 2018, The Jordanian National Commission for Women presented a study showing that 75.9% of Jordanian women were subject to some form of violence in their lives. Awareness has also increased about the problem of street harassment, with a documentary released in October 2019 sparking an online information campaign under the hashtag 'JordanSpeaksUp'.

Last update: November 27, 2019

War Risks

The risk of war between Jordan and Israel is very low. Jordan is extremely unlikely to revoke the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. Syria and Iraq are unlikely to wage a war against Jordan as neither country has the intent or capability. Jordan's effective border forces make it extremely unlikely that Islamic State militants fleeing Iraq and Syria will begin contesting Jordanian territory. Radicalisation and returning jihadists are more likely to result in limited acts of terrorism. Domestic armed conflict is unlikely to break out in the foreseeable three-year outlook.

Last update: September 20, 2019

Social Stability

High

Activists will repeatedly protest peacefully against austerity measures, the US's Middle East peace proposal, relations with Israel, and for increased parliamentary powers in 2019. There is a significant increased risk of public-sector strikes and riots against government assets if the state reacts too forcefully against protesters or in the unlikely event that King Abdullah lends his backing to the peace proposal. The main rally point for several hundreds of thousands of protesters would probably remain Amman's Fourth Circle roundabout and the Royal Court. There is an elevated risk of politically motivated strikes disrupting routes to Aqaba port, resulting in several days' closure.

Last update: September 20, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over one year of age and for travelers who have been in transit in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission. 

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

It should be noted that Jordan is located in an active seismic zone. Minor earthquakes occur with moderate frequency. The last major earthquake to strike occurred in 1927.

Jordan also faces flooding on a regular basis, especially in northern areas. Dust storms can also occur, leading to decreased visibility and transportation disruptions.

Temperatures in summer months can be very high. Drink plenty of water and use high-sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen.

In winter, heavy snow can disrupt transportation, especially around Petra.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Though travel conditions remain good in urban areas, road transportation presents a high risk for travelers in rural areas due to erratic driving habits and poorly maintained infrastructure. Road accidents are frequent.

It is advisable to travel with licensed taxis whenever possible. Use of public transportation is not advised due to generally unsafe conditions.

Police often carry out random security checks on the street and at checkpoints. Keep identification documents on hand at all times.

There is no railway system in Jordan.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Rolling power outages occasionally occur, especially during extreme heat when the demand for electricity exceeds the country's production capacity.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Jordan's climate for the most part is semi-arid, although it is fully arid in the east of the country. Summers are hot and dry with scorching temperatures between May and September. Winters are cool, even cold, in certain areas; snow sometimes falls at higher elevations. The country receives most of its annual rainfall between November and February. Spring and autumn are mild and pleasant.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +962
Police: 191
Fire Dept.: 199
Ambulance: 199

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019