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中国株レポート
投資の視点
新興成長国基礎データ
中華人民共和国
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Geography

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is bordered by Syria to the North, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the East and Israel to the west. Its area is 96,118 sq.km of which 6,644 sq.km are on the West Bank. About 80% of the land area of the East Bank is desert. Jordan has only a short coastline around Aquaba in the South. The major towns are located near the river Jordan round the northern central highlands where the population is concentrated.

Demography

In 1991 the population of the East Bank was estimated at 3.5 million, 960,212 of whom were classified by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as being Palestinian refugees. Some 60% of the population is of Palestinian origin. Approximately 1 million people live on the West Bank and 1. 21 million in the Greater Amman conurbation. About 72% of the population now live in urban areas. Up to 1991 annual population growth rate was 4.7% p.a., the birth rate remaining high in comparison with other developing countries. Of the total population, around 48% is under 15 years of age.

The domestic work force numbered 524,197 in 1990, 49.5% of whom were employed as public servants, 7.3% in agriculture, 10.2% in mining and manufacturing and 9.9% in construction. Industrial activity tends to be organised in small scale operations, with each concern employing a relatively small work force.

In 1989 there were approximately 328,000 Jordanians working in the six states of the Gulf Co-operation Council. This figure fell dramatically as a result of the Gulf Crisis, when approximately 300,000 Jordanians in Kuwait were returned to the Kingdom. Paradoxically, Jordan is also an importer of manpower. In 1991 there were estimated to be about 165,000 non-Jordanian workers in the country only some 21,000 of whom were working legally.

History and Political Situation

The history of Jordan (formerly Transjordan) goes back to 1921 when Great Britain, acting under the League of Nations mandate power, recognised a local central authority in Amman. The Hashemite Prince Abdullah, King Hussein's grandfather, whose family had aided the British in conflict with the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, became head of the new state. The British, in the inter-war years, played a crucial role in the government of Jordan, helping to build an efficient army with a strong Bedouin component.

In 1948, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan took part in the first Arab-Israeli war, at the end of which the Jordanian army occupied a portion of Palestine to the West of the River Jordan, part of the Arab state under the United Nations partition plan. After the hostilities, the West Bank was formally incorporated into the Jordanian state and Jordan was obliged to absorb a large number of Palestinian refugees.

King Abdullah was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1951 and King Talal ruled briefly. Before he stood down he established the constitution which is still in operation today. Under the constitution the cabinet became accountable to parliament, which consists of an elected 80 member lower house and 30 strong senate, appointed by the monarch. The king also chooses the Prime Minister and has the right to change the government or dissolve Parliament at any time. Hussein, who was 17 years old when he took over from his father Talal, is now the longest surviving Arab head of State.

Because of internal instability during the twenty years following Hussein's accession, the regime had to rely on the army. The defeat of Jordan by Israel in 1967, the loss of the West Bank and the influx of more Palestinian refugees added to the instability as the PLO operated as a "state within a state" and continued to attack. This led to the outbreak of civil war in 1970 and the flight of the PLO leadership abroad. In the ensuing war with Israel in 1973 Hussein sent troops and equipment to help Syria during the conflict and in 1974 Jordan reluctantly accepted a resolution passed by an Arab summit conference, making the PLO the only representative of the Palestinian people. Jordan is still formally at war with Israel and has never given up its claim to the West Bank. Indeed in a conciliatory gesture in 1988, King Hussein designated the PLO as national administrator of the West Bank.

The ending of martial law was arguably the most important of a number of political reforms introduced between 1989 and 1992. This process of political liberalisation also included the adoption of the National Charter in June 1991. The charter was drafted by a 60 member Royal Commission and adopted by a 2,000 strong national conference. The initiative for the charter, however, came from the King. The charter emphasises that Jordan is a legitimate territorial state and that the Hashemite monarchy, and more precisely King Hussein, is the legitimate territorial state. In return, the charter prescribed the return of political parties and other pluralistic practices. Many in the Kingdom were at first uneasy about the charter. On July 5 Parliament passed a law legalising political parties. The move paves the way for Jordan's first multi-party elections which are scheduled to be held by November 1993.

Economy

The loss of the West Bank territory deprived Jordan of much of its best agricultural land: at present only 6% of the land is arable, despite the extensive programmes of irrigation now being implemented.

Unlike many of its Middle Eastern neighbours, Jordan has extremely limited energy resources - initially no oil and until a promising recent find, only a minor gas field. Principal exports have been phosphates and related products, and in recent years fresh produce to the Gulf States. Given the need to import most raw materials and capital equipment, the country has run a large structural trade deficit, and despite invisible income from sources such as tourism and the remittances of Jordanians working elsewhere in the Gulf, there has also been a significant balance of payments deficit. These and longer-term financing requirements, have been covered since 1978 by a flow of aid from other Arab states, supplemented by both public and private sectors borrowing from overseas.

The effects of the Gulf crisis inflicted severe damage on an economy ill-equipped to cope. The international economic embargo against Iraq meant that Jordan lost a lucrative export and re-export market. This inflicted major harm on the Kingdom's manufacturing sector, which had grown heavily dependent on the Iraq market. The influx of some 300,000 Jordanian nationals from Kuwait, imposed a tremendous strain on government services, as well as adding to the pool of unemployment. The crisis in the Gulf has had a further effect on remittances.

Jordan's second economic crisis immediately undermined the IMF readjustment package put together as a result of the first. Jordan put a moratorium on the payment of its rescheduled debts.

However, the Jordanian economy has shown a quick recovery. A construction boom developed after April 1991 as a result of the influx of thousands of expatriates who returned during and after Gulf crisis, and this trend extend to other sectors. GDP growth in 1992 reached double digits and this trend should continue at least during 1993.

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