As we move to the next phase of managing COVID-19, it will be critical to effectively implement strategies on the ground. Shifting tactics and governing style is not a luxury but a necessity, particularly in a country like Jordan, as we must recognise the new global dynamics where traditional aid and donations are no longer forthcoming.
The need to change was imminent even before COVID-19, but the pandemic has just hastened the transition and the need for Jordan to develop its own industries and economy in order to be a productive and competitive member of the international community and create opportunity for its own citizens. This will require a new approach development at all levels, micro, medium and large-scale projects with domestic development based on strategy to play a regional and global role. We can develop local industries and projects, but they must have global supply chains and markets.
This shift in approach and thinking could be the only way that Jordan can solve its current economic quagmire. Clearly this approach requires a strategic and political strategy that promotes new projects, and Jordan’s new role with key countries and potential new allies who can assist, participate and also benefit.
This approach requires efficient public institutions and effective bureaucratic skills with a prime minister who can promote and strengthen these critical institutions. Quality government in the next phase will build vital relations between the private and public sector to pave the way for local investments that satisfy both local needs, employment and supply of critical resources. Creating the conditions for increased liquidity in the local market is part of the government’s role to develop economic strategies that create incentives for investors not just based on profit but for the national good in times of crisis like this.
Jordan’s economic woes cannot be solved with higher taxation and increasing prices for critical goods. Jordanians have been facing these hardships for many years, and increasing frustration is driven by a long period of inefficient and ineffective economic policies, combined with the lack of industry development that have not succeeded in improving their situation.
While economic hardship is a serious issue, decision makers also need to keep in mind the delicate regional dynamics and the potential implications for Jordan. Internal stability must be the priority of Jordanian policymakers, as social disorder could create fertile ground for serious security risks including organised crime and terrorist groups, which could threaten internal security and stability.
The quality of government in the next phase of COVID-19 must recognise the challenges that are actually being faced. Jordan can leverage the opportunity to transform into a key regional hub that also plays a major role in the rebuilding of Syria and Iraq, the opportunities in both of which have already attracted strategic interests. In order to take advantage, Jordan needs a clear political strategy and an unbiased view of the region, potential allies and its borders.