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The Jordanian Silicon Wadi

May 15,2014 - Last updated at May 15,2014

Jordan is one of the best places in the world to establish an IT start-up.

The country’s great potential has drawn the attention of many investors from around the world, but more need still to know about its talented workforce, central location, legislative environment, infrastructure, free trade agreements and practical record.

This potential took a focal point during King Abdullah’s current visit to the US where he met with investment leaders and representatives of various sectors.

The country’s climate of innovation has earned Jordan the name of “Silicon Wadi”, the King said in a speech during the “Innovative Jordan” Conference held at the University of California at Berkeley on Tuesday.

His Majesty told the conference that Amman has become the regional capital for start-ups, and the 10th best place to start a technology company in the world, highlighting that Jordan is home to the three most popular content portals in the Arab world, managing 75 per cent of Arab user-generated content.

Testifying to this great potential, Jordan’s IT exports increased eight fold since 2011. In 2012, Jordan’s IT exports reached $300 million, contributing more than 12 per cent of the GDP.

This sector has also created more than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, which constitute 6 per cent of the country’s workforce, benefiting from Jordan’s distinguished educational levels and high literacy rates, considered the highest in the region.

From a very small sector 15 years ago, ICT became the fastest-growing sector in the Jordanian economy.

This mere fact should attract the attention of companies and investors from all over the world, along with the country’s leading role in developing software and other IT products not only for the Arab region, but also for various parts of the globe.

At the same time, the country’s stability and security in this tumultuous region should be convincing factors for potential investors.

Moreover, as the King said, Jordan connects three continents and enjoys exceptional relations and multiple FTAs, giving “Jordan-based enterprises access to one-billion customers, including Europe, the US and Asia”.

The country is steadily improving its economy. It maintains its status as a regional hub despite the fact that it has to cope with limited resources and hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries, which, once more, testifies to the Jordanian people’s resilience and hospitality.

While confronting challenges, the country continues to prepare the ground for a better future, now looking for a new 10-year economic blueprint intended to ensure consistency, increased competitiveness, productivity and self-reliance.

The ICT sector will no doubt have a key role in this “Jordan 2025” blueprint, which will lead to a stronger economy and reward all active participants and entrepreneurs.

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