Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Jordan targets regional leadership in innovation

Special edition no.15 : FEMIP

Written by Caroline Garcia, MARSEILLE on Monday, October 26th 2015 à 09:40 | Read 485 times

JORDAN. In a difficult regional context, the Kingdom has advantages enabling it to consider its economic future from an innovation perspective.

Jordan benefits from a well trained youth.  (photo : Oasis 500)
Jordan benefits from a well trained youth. (photo : Oasis 500)
In the early 2000’s, Jordan turned a corner in its approach to innovation. Until then, the country’s authorities had essentially focused on the needs of researchers and engineers but barely supported the structuring of a national ecosystem that might include enterprise.  However, the country’s social and political stability attracts foreign investors.  Young Jordanians receive training of a recognised high quality and the Diaspora wastes no time in supporting national projects when asked. All these aspects have supported the drive for more comprehensive policies to support innovation as the country’s economic driving force.

Planning innovation

Jordan calls upon on a Higher Council for Science and Technology. Set up in 1987, this body has largely contributed to defining the political strategies promoting research and innovation implemented in the country. The “Policy and Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation” (STI) for the period 2012-2016 has three objectives:
- placing innovation at the centre of all the country’s economic development strategies;
- developing partnerships between the world of science and technology, on the one hand, and the public and private sectors, on the other;
- as well as optimising the use of national resources.
The main missions outlined in this strategy are supplying the country with water and energy and tackling poverty. The strategy also provides solutions to boost the competitiveness of Jordanian companies and support for innovative projects.

For the State, in particular, the aim is to put in place logistical and financial means to increase project implementation rates. This is achieved by creating a favourable culture and environment for innovation coupled with transferring innovation from research to enterprise. The strategy plans to increase spending on research in the country by 1.5% of GDP whereas this accounted for just 0.34% of GDP in 2002 according to the Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation (2014). In 2013, Jordanian GDP amounted to €30bn with a growth rate of around 3% per year.

Start-up and incubation

Other documents for planning technological development have been published following the STI. These include the 2013-2017 ICT strategy which sets further ambitious development goals.   

In the private sector, support solutions for start-up and incubation stage projects are developing. These are often assisted by international organisations and investors. The Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship was opened in 2004 and has supported some one hundred projects, participating in the creation of 25 high-tech companies. The iPark incubator hosts around thirty fledgling businesses, an example being Alnassah, which develops software geared to the region’s needs.

Special issue : Developing and Funding Innovation in Southern Mediterranean Countries

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