|23 January, 2020

Jordan exemplifies economic, political resilience - Razzaz

In Davos, PM urges international community to heed call of Palestinians

Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks to the media during a news conference in Amman, Jordan April 9, 2019.

Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks to the media during a news conference in Amman, Jordan April 9, 2019.

REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN — Despite the challenges imposed by regional crises, Jordan has set an example of economic and political resilience throughout the previous decades, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Wednesday.

The premier made his remarks during a session titled "Geopolitical Outlook: The Middle East and North Africa", which took place at the Davos-held 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF), the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The Kingdom has improved its institutional capacities, Razzaz added.

The session was moderated by President of the WEF Borge Brende and attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Bin Alawi and President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars Jane Harman, who is a former member of the US Congress.

The Kingdom suffers from a high rate of unemployment, he said, pointing out that young people are looking for jobs and voicing pride in Jordan's youth for expressing their demands peacefully "without shedding a single drop of blood".

Razzaz also highlighted the Kingdom's humanitarian role in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, underscoring that "not a single hate crime against Syrian refugees has been reported".

"At the same time, we have great challenges. Refugees make up 20 per cent of the Kingdom's population", he added.

Hosting Syrian refugees costs the Kingdom some $2.4 billion a year, while the received aid covers only 42 per cent of the incurred burden, he said, urging the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in addressing the refugee crisis and supporting host countries.

Jordan, in spite of difficulties and challenges, has managed to record progress in a number of indicators, notably its volume of exports and tourism figures, which climbed in 2019 by 9 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, Razzaz said.

He added that Jordan advanced 29 points in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 report, highlighting the “qualitative leaps” in the economy, education, IT, digital education and innovation indicators and pointing to the "distinguished" results achieved by Jordanian students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), mainly in the fields of mathematics, science and reading.

While Jordanians make up 3 per cent of the region's population, 27 of the region's 100 start-ups are Jordanian companies, he said, citing a report issued last year by the WEF.

Drawing attention to the Palestinian cause, Razzaz said that the international community has ignored the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and focused on secondary wars at its expense, warning that "disregarding Palestinians' aspirations will leave room for extremist groups".

Regarding the war on terrorism, the premier said that to ensure that no new variants of the Daesh terror group arise, the international community should acknowledge that "winning a single battle does not mean the elimination of terrorism".

The premier also issued a warning concerning regional and international interference, stressing that refugee influxes could affect the sovereignty of states, alongside other negative repercussions.

"When states' sovereignty and borders are not respected and when one party is supported at the expense of another, problems and challenges arise," Razzaz concluded.

In remarks to Petra following the session, Harman said that she paid a visit to Syrian refugee camps near the Jordan-Syria border, which host some 70,000 to 80,000 refugees, lauding the "peaceful conditions they enjoy" and pointing out that basic services, including businesses and schools, have been provided.

Only 15 per cent of Syrian refugees in the Kingdom live in camps, while the majority of the 1.3 million Syrian refugees in the Kingdom are hosted in cities and other urban areas, she added.

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