Jordan, struggling to speed up its pace of economic and regulatory reforms, expects foreign direct investment to drop next year before ultimately rebounding, its industry and trade minister said on Thursday.
Jordan’s economy has been hurt by regional protests and energy supply disruptions tied to the Arab Spring, Minister for Industry and Trade Shabib Ammari said in an interview.
“The last figure that I have in mind today with respect to FDI (foreign direct investment) during 2011 was a bit below $2 billion,” he said on the sidelines of the International Economic Alliance symposium.
“I would expect 2013 to be maybe $1.5 billion, anywhere between $1 billion to $1.5 billion, 2014 may double this figure,” he added.
Ammari said Jordan’s economy has been buffeted by the unrest in the Middle East by straining its tourism revenues while the global financial crisis has impacted its financial sector.
The International Monetary Fund board in August approved a $2 billion loan to Jordan, whose finances have been hit by the regional protests and has been forced to switch from gas to more expensive oil for electricity because of supply disruptions from Egypt.
In June it reported gross domestic product growth of 3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter due as the upheaval in Syria and Egypt cast a pall over private sector investment and social spending strains public finances.
The government, despite a crackdown on corruption that has seen its former spy chief put on trial, still faces criticism that it is not moving fast enough to clean up government and institute promised reforms.
“The issue of corruption has been blown out of proportion in Jordan,” Ammari said.
“People sometimes speak about the progress as slow, but justice is slow. We are a country of institutions and the legal setup takes its due time to make sure that the verdict is just.”