While Jordan is moving forward in fixed and mobile broadband development, it is nevertheless facing some relevant social challenges, such as the amount of refugees coming from Iraq and Syria which are severly affecting the country’s economy and infrastructure. Jordan also has a thriving ICT industry, but entrepreneurs which establish tech start-ups in Jordan often target their products and services to the wealthy Gulf Region countries rather than their small national market. Other challenges the Jordanian start-ups face is the lack of skilled talent, partly because wealthier economies in the region are attracting the best professionals thanks to higher salaries and better working conditions.
Jordan’s economy is among the smallest in the Middle East, with insufficient supplies of water, oil, and other natural resources, underlying the government’s heavy reliance on foreign assistance. Other economic challenges for the government include chronic high rates of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, budget and current account deficits, and government debt. The global economic slowdown and regional turmoil contributed to slow growth from 2010 to 2014. Through 2014, Jordan’s finances were strained by a series of natural gas pipeline attacks in Egypt, disrupting natural gas exports to Jordan, and led Jordan to rely on more expensive diesel imports, primarily from Saudi Arabia, to generate electricity.
To diversify its energy mix, Jordan has secured several contracts for liquefied natural gas and is currently exploring nuclear power generation, exploitation of abundant oil shale reserves and renewable technologies, as well as the import of Israeli offshore gas. In August 2015, Jordan completed a $2.1 billion, three-year IMF Stand-By Arrangement, which the government had entered to help correct budgetary and balance of payments imbalances.