The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is strategically located in the Middle East. Bound by Syria to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, the Red Sea to the south, Palestine and Israel to the west. The country has an area of 89,213 square kilometers; Jordan’s natural and ecological diversity is also vast. The drive from Amman, in the mountains, to the shores of the Dead Sea, is a descent of 1,200m in less than an hour. Most of the land is desert plateau, but the uplands are temperate and the Jordan Valley semitropical. Within Jordan's borders, 19 different plant ecosystems and countless species thrive.
The climate in Jordan is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, with annual average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 C and summertime highs reaching the 40 C in the desert regions. Rainfall averages vary from 50 mm annually in the desert to 800 mm in the northern hills, some of which falls as snow.
Jordan is home to the Dead Sea, which is considered the lowest point on earth lying 408 meters below sea level. By contrast, the highest point in Jordan is Jebel Umm El Dami, which lies 1854 meters above sea level.
Population and Economy:
Jordan currently has a population of around 9.5 million people (6.6 million Jordanians and 2.9 million non-Jordanians), nearly 4 million of which make their home in the capital Amman. Jordan also has a young population; more than 70 percent of the population is under 30 years of age, which suggests that an investment in youth can be an instrument for national development. Those between the age of 15 and 24 comprise 22 percent of the population.
Jordan is an upper middle-income country, with a per-capita GNI of US$4,380. The country has limited agricultural land and natural resources - potash and phosphate are its main export commodities -, and water is severely scarce; the country ranks as the world’s fourth poorest country in terms of water resources. Services account for more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 75 percent of jobs. As one of the most open economies of the region, Jordan is well integrated with its neighbors through trade, remittances, foreign direct investment (FDI), and tourism.
Jordan is currently exploring ways to expand its limited water supply and use its existing water resources more efficiently, including through regional cooperation. Jordan depends on external sources for the majority of its energy requirements.
According to Jordan’s Department of Statistics, 13.1 percent of the economically active Jordanian population residing in Jordan were unemployed in 2012. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects unemployment rates in 2013 to drop to 12.9 percent. Education and literacy rates, and measures of social well-being are relatively high compared to other countries with similar incomes. One of the most important factors in the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s.
Tourism is of vital importance to the national economy of Jordan. It is the Kingdom’s largest export sector, its second largest private sector employer, and its second highest producer of foreign exchange. Tourism contributes more than US$800 million to Jordan’s economy and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the country’s GDP.
Jordan’s unique geography and wealth of ancient sites makes it an attractive destination for tourists. Activities include visiting major sites, from the Nabatean city of Petra carved out of stone, to the numerous desert castles and sacred religious sites, to the wild desert of Wadi Rum and other unspoiled natural locations.