In a bid to meet the needs of a population that is increasing by some 200,000 a year, the government has drawn up a $30bn programme of infrastructure investment that includes much-needed energy, transport and water schemes.
Unlike most other states in the Middle East, Amman has no hydrocarbon revenues with which to fund the projects itself, instead it hopes private investors will take on much of the financial burden.
The government has been laying the foundations to make this possible. A new ministry of megaprojects has already been established and later this year, a public-private partnership (PPP) law is expected to be introduced to facilitate engagement with the private sector.
Mindful of the difficulty in accessing project finance in the current economic climate, the government is also working to make the schemes as attractive as possible, enhancing revenue streams, reducing risk, offering more equity and subsidies.
The strategy is working so far; 29 consortiums have shown an interest in developing the $12bn Jordan Red Sea – Dead Sea project.
The megaprojects planned are crucial to the long-term development of Jordan and Amman is aware that it cannot fund them alone. But launching them during the worst global recession in decades could leave the government making unnecessary concessions that it will have to pay for in many years to come.