economic challenges

Jordan’s Knowledge Scorecard

An important new global knowledge index highlights the areas where Jordan is excelling and struggling.

According to the first edition of the Global Knowledge Index (GKI), which was recently set up by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and the UNDP, Jordan ranked 62 out of 131 countries. On the regional level, the Kingdom came in fifth position out of 22 Arab countries, after the UAE (25th), Qatar (41th), Bahrain (43th), and Kuwait (59th).

The value of Jordan GKI stands at 46, which is one point below the world average at 47.  However, considering the seven pillars of the GKI, it’s clear from the table below that the main deficiencies the country is facing in terms of the knowledge economy are in technical vocational education and training (TVET), research, development and innovation, and general enabling environment.

Ranking at 98 out of 131 countries in the TVET sector reveals that Jordan’s vocational training policies, carried out in cooperation with many partners including the World Bank and many other donors, did not achieve their objectives. This means we need to reconsider the policies related to TVET by learning from best practices which clearly pinpoint that TVET programs are much more successful when managed and run by the private sector within a national plan. By the same talking, ranking 91 at the General Enabling Environment reiterates the main reasons why Jordan is not improving in both the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report.

According to GKI, the enabling environment in Jordan is negatively affected by the lack of gender parity in the labor force, government effectiveness, and regulatory quality. The overall value of the enabling environment in Jordan is 58 out of 100. This means a lot remains to be done, and mostly things that are related to internal policies. So improving our general enabling environment that would lead to a better investment environment is a matter of serious internal will to improve policies related to government institutions and bureaucracy, gender parity, and engagement of youth. Finally, although Jordan achieved a good position in higher education (ranking 34 out of 131), its rank was very low in research, development and innovation (ranking 86), with a value of 19.2 percent. This shows the large gap between higher education and innovation or research and development that could help improve the production base of the country hence create jobs and absorb new comers to labor market.

The GKI should be used in conjunction with both the Global Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business reports, especially in terms of helping policy makers take the tough decisions needed to improve the economy. It’s important for policy makers to seriously study the seven indicators of the GKI in order to put forward the proper policies to improve the country’s situation and position.