The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a land steeped in history. It has been home to some of mankinds earliest settlements and villages, and relics of many of the worlds great civilizations can still be seen today. Jordan is located in the Middle East and borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq. It has served as a strategic nexus connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Thus, since the dawn of civilization, Jordans geography has given it an important role to play as a conduit for trade and communications, connecting east and west, north and south. Jordan continues to play this role today.
The Kingdom is constitutional. The monarch His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the Council of Ministers. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the elected House of Deputies which, along with the Senate, constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is a totally independent branch. His Majesty’s father King Hussein bin Talal, the father of modern Jordan, will always be remembered as a leader who guided his country through strife and turmoil to become an oasis of peace, stability and moderation in the Middle East. Among Jordanians, his memory is cherished as the inspiration for Jordans climate of openness, tolerance and compassion. Known to his people as Al-Malik Al-Insan (The Humane King), King Hussein was the forty-second generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Jordanian economy is market oriented economy. The economic system is based on free enterprise and personal initiative. Since 1989, and with the help of international organizations, efforts have been under way to restructure and revitalize the economy. King Abdullah II has been working hard to further develop the economy, and strengthen the environment attractive to foreign investors. Upon His Majesty’s directives, the government has undertaken wide range major changes and adjustments to financial and economic legislation in order to improve the competitiveness of the economy and integrate Jordan with the global economy. These efforts have yielded steadily improving results with the GDP growing by 7% from 1992 to1997 and from 4% to 7% until 2004. Jordan joined, in December 1999 the World Trade Organization in the belief that the accession to the WTO will assist Jordan in gaining the opportunity for entering the global market, promoting its trade and improving its economy. In November 1997, Jordan signed a partnership Agreement with the European Union. The agreement entered into force on May 1st, 2002. The main objective of the Agreement is the establishment of a free trade area between Jordan and the EU over twelve years.
The population of Jordan has grown rapidly over the last fifty years or so to more than 5 million people. Around 80% of the population lives in urban areas, with approximately 2 million living in the capital, Amman.