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Jordan second in Arab world for 'economic freedom', study finds

A dealer walks past an electronic board in the investors' gallery at the Amman Stock Exchange ,JORDAN-BOURSE/   REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

A dealer walks past an electronic board in the investors' gallery at the Amman Stock Exchange ,JORDAN-BOURSE/ REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

16 January 2017

AMMAN — Jordan has been ranked second in the Arab world for “economic freedom”, according to a report published by neoliberal think tanks, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) maintaining first place, which last year it shared with the Kingdom.

The annual Economic Freedom in the Arab World Index 2016, published by the Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), awarded Jordan a score of 8.1 out of a maximum score of 10, a fall of 0.1 points.  

The index ranks 21 of the 22 Arab League nations, with the exception of Somalia, according to five key criteria, namely: size of government, legal and property rights, access to “sound money”, freedom to trade internationally and the regulation of credit, labour and business. 

"We are looking forward to real reforms for increasing economic freedom and prosperity throughout the region," René Klaff, head of the FNF Regional Office in the Middle East and North Africa, said.
On individual criteria, Jordan stayed in 3rd place for size of government, rising from 8th to 7th for legal structure and property rights, and ranking 2nd in terms of access to sound money. 

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Despite the Kingdom’s score remaining unchanged at 8 for freedom to trade internationally, it fell from 5th to 6th place. For business, labour and credit regulation, Jordan moved up from 7th to 6th place, even with a 0.1 decrease in this area.  

The UAE’s overall score of 8.2 remains unchanged from last year, with Bahrain coming third with a rating of 8. 

Syria is the “least economically free nation in the Arab world”, according to the report, with a score of 5.4. It was followed by Algeria with 5.5 and Libya with 5.6. 

Klaff praised several Jordanian ministries for their cooperative attitudes towards FNF initiatives, and said he looks forward to future cooperation. 

With 35 years of experience in Jordan, the FNF focuses on the promotion of economic and political liberalisation, and is connected to the German Free Democratic Party. The Fraser Institute is a Canadian neoliberal economic think tank.

© Jordan Times 2017

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