Since he assumed his constitutional powers as the leader of Jordan in 1999, His Majesty King Abdullah II has espoused an ambitious, progressive vision for the nation based on political openness, economic and social development and the values of peace and tolerance taught by Islam. His development agenda seeks to provide every person the opportunity to pursue a first-rate education, live in safe and affordable housing, find a decent job, raise a family and plan for the future.
King Abdullah has taken the lead in pushing forward rapid economic reforms to expand opportunities for Jordanians. Export growth, a strong driver of job creation, benefitted from King Abdullah’s leadership in making the structural changes necessary for Jordan’s acceptance into the World Trade Organisation, as well as through new economic partnerships with the United States, the European Union and neighboring countries. Economic growth has also benefitted from the King’s focus on innovation, infrastructure development and privatisation. The Aqaba Special Economic Zone, which generated close to $8 billion in investment in 2006 alone, is being rolled out as a model in development zones nationwide.
Because a thriving economy begins with knowledge, King Abdullah has supported new education programmes from pre-school through advanced studies. Under his leadership, Jordan has undertaken sweeping reforms of the educational system, building better schools, fielding progressive curricula, introducing information and communications technologies into teaching and learning, and building students’ technological skills.
Political development is a vital partner of economic growth. King Abdullah has pursued a program of political liberalisation, including new election laws, judicial reform and human rights law. In 2002, he called for the creation of an independent National Centre for Human Rights, a unique institution designed to safeguard the rights of every citizen, resident and guest in Jordan. In 2005, he called for the creation of a National Agenda that provides a roadmap for social, economic and political development.
King Abdullah’s development agenda is based on core beliefs about what Jordan must be: a thriving and successful economy at the heart of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic region. Jordan's success will be incomplete as long as the people of the Middle East live with regional conflict, which is an obstacle to cooperation and exchange, and a threat to the confidence, security and rule of law on which healthy economies are built.