Assess and triage (resilience phase)
Jordan has suffered three deaths per million inhabitants, ranking it the 141st hardest hit country in the world out of 150 countries recorded as of 16th September.1
- The Jordanian authorities sealed off their northern border with Syria after recording cases coming through the main border town of Ramtha.
- Now they have sealed off the town, after a day in which it recorded half the national total of positive tests.
- Sixteen buildings were isolated in Amman due to positive coronavirus cases.
- All buildings have been disinfected to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and investigation teams are taking samples from all residents.
Stabilize and emerge (recovery phase)
Travel and transport:3
- The country's main airport in Amman resumed international operations on 08 September, nearly six months after it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- International flights can now land at and depart from Jordan's capital, although the airport is operating at a reduced capacity.
- New safety measures are in place, including compulsory face masks for travellers and staff, and social distancing markers.
- A Covid-19 screening laboratory has been installed where all arriving passengers will be tested for the virus.
- In the departures area, self-service check-in machines have been installed to reduce interaction between passengers and airport staff.
Back to school:4
- Nearly two million children returned to school after a five-month absence, although authorities were forced to suspend teaching in some areas due to a spike in cases.
- Authorities hesitated reopening schools after the country saw over 600 cases in a week, its highest number of infections since March.
- In addition, financial concerns have forced parents to withdraw 40,000 pupils from private schools that educate almost half the country’s schoolchildren, leaving teachers in the sector suffering redundancies and wage cuts.
Adapt and rethink (new reality)
Growing a new sector:5
- Jordan, like many countries in the Middle East, is keen to emerge from the pandemic with a strong focus on new sectors to drive its economic growth – one sector of known focus being agriculture.
- The Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) on 7th September signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Jordan River Foundation to implement economic development programs and support farmers.
- This is part of a strategy focused on the reduction of poverty, vulnerability and inequality in rural areas through creation of productive employment and income generating opportunities for the rural poor and vulnerable, especially youth and women.
An unlikely Fintech hub?6
- In Spring 2019, the World Economic Forum selected Whyise, a Jordanian startup, as one of the 100 Arab start-ups shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
- Perhaps more importantly, Jordan’s Ahli Bank established the Ahli Fintech Seed Accelerator Programme within their subsidiary, Ahli Fintech, which supports startups, including Whyise, and tries to provide the necessary ecosystem for fintechs to thrive.
- Through Ahli Fintech, fintech talent can benefit from various activities and initiatives, including events, conferences, workshops and training sessions.
- Ahli Fintech offers innovators the opportunity to find solutions via its Ahli Sandbox environment and its wider support network.
- It remains to be seen if more rising stars such as Whyise can be created to build a strong regional fintech ecosystem.