Under HM King Abdullah,Jordan Continues to Move Forward [Archives:2005/814/Reportage]

February 7 2005

Since His Majesty King Abdullah ascended to the throne as the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, he has worked diligently to focus on different aspects of life in Jordan. HM directed his a significant share of his attention towards the economy. He placed the topics of achieving sustainable development, economic growth and social welfare at the top of his priorities, while ascertaining the requirement that the improvement in economic performance of Jordan should be reflected in the welfare of all the people in all the provinces or governorates of Jordan. To achieve this, King Abdullah has launched several initiatives for the improvement of the social and economic situation in the Kingdom, while insisting that decision making by the Government on the economy should follow a participatory approach. He also insisted that the private sector should be encouraged and motivated to play its role in responding to the political and economic reforms and to participate in their formulation. At the same time, HM called for the need to continue improving the performance of the public sector, so as to ensure that Government decisions do provide encouragement for the implementation of the national projects, programs and initiatives. Among the royal initiatives is the establishment of the Al-Aqaba Private Investment Zone, which has contributed to the enhancement of the participation of the private sector in a liberalized modern business environment and also the development of the Information Technology sector in the Kingdom. Here, His Majesty ordered that all schools should be supplied with modern computers. In addition, there is the royal initiative for undertaking development in the provinces that aims to achieve regional development and the enhancement of social welfare in all the regions of the Kingdom.

During his reign also, Jordan joined the World Trade Organization in 2000. It also signed several agreements for regional and international integration, such as the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Jordan hosted the meetings of the World Economic Forum in 2003 and 2004, which was the first time that the meetings were held outside its traditional home in Switzerland.

Politically, licenses were issued to several political parties, with the number of parties permitted reaching over 24 political parties throughout the nation. These parties now enjoy an effective presence in the political theater and in discussion of the political issues and topics and in correcting any mistakes that may have arisen. They are also assisting decision makers in making the appropriate decisions, in the defense of the nation, and in upholding the rights of Jordanian citizens. This would not have materialized had not HM confirmed that the way must be paved for the citizens to express their views through the political parties or appropriate institutions. Also, for the first time, a Ministry for Political Development was created, and also for the first time seats were assigned for women in the Jordanian Parliament, which is a clear indication of the attention given by HM to women and gender issues. Recently, HM launched an initiative, in which he called for the division of Jordan into regional sections and for the establishment of local councils. This step would undoubtedly contribute to building a democratic, political, economic and administrative system that is unique for the Middle East, in addition to the fact that it will allow for the broadest representation of the people and will incite all the citizens to participate in decision making on matters that will directly touch on their lives. This initiative will also primarily touch on the issues for National Dialogue on the Best Methods for the Development of a Political System and setting the climate for the broadest participation in government, beginning at the grass roots level up to the highest positions in the executive and legislative authorities.