The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 263–292 | Cite as

The IMF and the World Bank in Jordan: A case of over optimism and elusive growth

  • Jane Harrigan
  • Hamed El-Said
  • Chengang Wang


This article analyses the IMF and World Bank guided economic liberalization program which has taken place in Jordan since 1989. It argues that the current euphoria surrounding the outcome of the program is misplaced in two respects. Firstly, Jordan was not the model reformer often portrayed by the IMF and World Bank in their public statements. Secondly, an in-depth analysis of the growth that was recorded during the reform period shows that it was not the type of export-led intensive growth normally expected of a successful stabilization and structural reform program guided by the IMF and World Bank. Instead, growth has been extensive rather than intensive i.e. based upon increased factor inputs rather than productivity gains and focused in the non-tradable sector in the mid-1990s growth period and the non-tradables and an enclave export sector since 2000. We ask therefore, whether the disappointing outcome was the result of reform slippage on the part of the authorities or due to the (partial) implementation of an inappropriate reform program. In analyzing the program content, we identify some weaknesses in the policy prescriptions and a degree of conflict between the IMF and World Bank. Our conclusion is that the publicly upbeat interpretation that has been placed by the Bank and the Fund on Jordan's reform program reflects a degree of donor interest on the part of these two institutions, namely, the desire to present Jordan as a model of reform and globalization in the MENA region in order to justify the continued flow of funds to what had become one of the major Western allies in the region post-1992.


IMF World Bank Jordan Economic liberalization 

JEL Codes

O19 O53 F35 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abu Hammour, M. (2000). Financial policy and structural adjustment in Jordan. In al-Jumourad (Ed.), The evaluation of external economic assistance in Jordan 1989–99, Amman, Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan.Google Scholar
  2. Akel, M. (1994). The policies of the Jordanian financial system in investment: Past performance and future horizons. In M. Hamarneh (Ed.), The Jordanian economy; Problems and horizons, Amman, Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan.Google Scholar
  3. Akyuz, Y., & Boratav, K. (2003). The making of the Turkish financial crisis. World Development, 31(9), 1549–1566, September.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anani, J. (2001). The political sociology of Jordan: An analysis for the map of gains and pains. In H. El-Said & K. Becker (Eds.), Management and international business issues in Jordan. Binghamton: Haworth.Google Scholar
  5. Bakir, M. (1999). Measurement and analysis of poverty in Jordan: Poverty indicators for Jordan 1997, Amman, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Statistics.Google Scholar
  6. Bhatia, A. V. (2004). Crisis-Proofing and Sovereign Creditworthiness. In Jordan: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, IMF Country Report, Washington, IMF, No. 04/121, May 2004, pp. 124–146.Google Scholar
  7. Brand, L. (1995). Jordan's Inter-Arab relations: The political economy of alliance making. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) (1994). Thirty first annual report, Amman, Department of Research and Studies, Central Bank of Jordan.Google Scholar
  9. Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) (1996). Thirty third annual report, Amman, Department of Research and Studies, Central Bank of Jordan.Google Scholar
  10. Chalk, N., Jbili, A., Treichel, V., & Wilson, J. (1996). Financial sector reform. In IMF, Building on progress: Reform and growth in the Middle East and North Africa, Washington, Middle East Department, IMF.Google Scholar
  11. Cleaver, K. (1985). The impact of price and exchange rate policies on agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank Staff Working Paper 728, Washington, District of Columbia.Google Scholar
  12. El-Said, H. (1996). Jordan: The political economy of industrialisation in a Rentier economy, Ph.D. thesis, University of Manchester, Department of Government.Google Scholar
  13. El-Said, H. (2002), The political economy of reform in Jordan: Breaking resistance to reform? In G. Joffe (Ed.), Transitions in contemporary Jordan 1989–2000 (pp. 254–276). London: Hust & Company.Google Scholar
  14. Fanek, F. (1997). Jordan Economic Monitor: Monthly Newsletter, Amman, March, Issue No. 3/97.Google Scholar
  15. Fanek, F. (2004). Towards higher interest rates on the dinar. Jordan Times, Amman, May 24.Google Scholar
  16. Feler, A., & Poddar, T. (2004). Assessment of external competitiveness and export prospects. In Jordan: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, IMF, IMF Country Report No. 04/121, May 2004, pp. 146–215.Google Scholar
  17. Harik, I., & Sullivan, D. (Eds.) (1992). Privatisation and liberalisation in the Middle East. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Harrigan, J., & El-Said, H. (2000). Stabilisation and structural adjustment: The case of Jordan and Malawi. Journal of African Business, 1(3), 63–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harrigan, J., El-Said, H., & Wang, C. (2006). The economic and political determinants of IMF and World Bank lending in the Middle East and North Africa, World Development.Google Scholar
  20. Heresh, J. (2003). US Ambassador visits Irbid's Al Hassan industrial estate. Jordan Times, Amman-Jordan, October 21.Google Scholar
  21. International Crisis Group (2003a). The challenge of political reform: Jordanian democratisation and regional instability. Middle East Briefing, Amman/Brussels, 8 October.Google Scholar
  22. International Crisis Group (2003b). Red alert in Jordan: Recurrent unrest in Mann. Middle East Briefing, Amman/Brussels, 19 February.Google Scholar
  23. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (1991). Jordan: Staff report for 1990 Article IV consultation, Washington, IMF, SM/91/20.Google Scholar
  24. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (1999). Jordan—Staff report for the 1999 Article IV consultation, request for extended arrangement, and use of fund resources—Request for purchase under the compensatory and contingency financing facility, Washington, IMF, EBS/99/51, April 1.Google Scholar
  25. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2002a). IMF approved US$77 million disbursement to Jordan. Washington, News Brief, No. 02/40, April 30.Google Scholar
  26. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2002b). Jordan: Letter of intent, memorandum of economic and financial policies, and technical memorandum of understanding, Washington, IMF, June 18.Google Scholar
  27. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2002c). Jordan letter of intent, memorandum on economic and financial policies, Washington, IMF, April 15.Google Scholar
  28. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2004a). IMF Executive Board completes review of Jordan's stand-by arrangement, Washington, IMF Press Release No. 04/71.Google Scholar
  29. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2004b). Jordan: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, Washington, IMF, Country Report No. 01/121.Google Scholar
  30. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2004c). Jordan 2004 Article IV consultation and second review under the stand-by agreement, Staff Report, Washington, IMF Country Report No. 04/122.Google Scholar
  31. International Monetary Fund (IMF) (2004b). Majali confers with salt company workers, Amman, September 16.Google Scholar
  32. Kanaan, T., & Kardoosh, M. (2002). The story of economic growth in Jordan: 1950–2000, Amman, October 2002, found on web site at
  33. Kanovsky, E. (1989). Jordan's economy: From prosperity to crisis, working paper, No. 106, Tel Aviv, Tell Aviv University, The Shiloah Institute.Google Scholar
  34. Khalaf, R. (2003). Zoellick criticism sets back Egypt hopes on free trade. Financial Times, June 24.Google Scholar
  35. Lele, U. (1989). Agricultural growth, domestic policies, the external environment and assistance to Africa: Lessons of a quarter century. Washington, District of Columbia: World Bank.Google Scholar
  36. Lipton, M. (1987). Limits of price policy for agriculture: Which way for the World Bank? Development Policy Review, 5, 197–215.Google Scholar
  37. McGillivray, M., & White, H. (1993). Explanatory studies of aid allocation among developing countries: A critical survey, Institute of Social Studies Working Paper No. 148, The Hague: Institute of Social Science.Google Scholar
  38. Ministry of Industry (MoI) (1987). Encouragement of Investment Law, No 11 of 1987, Amman, Directorate of Studies and Encouragement of Investment.Google Scholar
  39. Ministry of Industry and Trade (2002). QIZ, Amman, The QIZ Unit.Google Scholar
  40. Ministry of Planning (MoP) (1986). Five year development plan 1986–90. Amman: Ministry of Planning.Google Scholar
  41. Ministry of Planning (MoP) (2004). Jordan human development report: Building sustainble livelihood, Amman, Ministry of Planning and UNDP.Google Scholar
  42. Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) (2002). Poverty alleviation for a stronger Jordan: A comprehensive national survey, Amman, JPAP, MoSD.Google Scholar
  43. Mosely, P. Harrigan, J., & Toye, J. (1995). Aid and power: The World Bank and policy-based lending, 2 vols. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. National Planning Council (1976). Five year development plan 1976–1980. Amman: NPC.Google Scholar
  45. Neal, B. K. (1998). The Jordanian economy in its regional and international framework. Amman: Al-Urdun Al-Jadid Research Centre.Google Scholar
  46. Oxfam International (2003). The IMF and the millennium goals: Failing to deliver for low income countries, Oxford Briefing Paper, September.Google Scholar
  47. Pfeifer, K. (1999). How Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and even Egypt Became IMF success story. Middle East Report, Fall 1999, pp. 23–27.Google Scholar
  48. Qadamani, I. (2004). US Provides $200 million to Jordan in economic aid. Jordan Times, Amman, July 12.Google Scholar
  49. Satloff, R. (1990). Jordan looks inward. Current History, February, pp. 57–60.Google Scholar
  50. Schneider, T. (2004). External debt dynamics and sustainability. In Jordan: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, IMF, IMF Country Report No. 04/121, May 2004, pp.64–85.Google Scholar
  51. Schlumberger, O. (2002), Transition to development? In G. Joffe (Ed.), Jordan in transition (pp. 225–253). London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  52. Shaban, R. Abu-Ghaida, D., & Al-Naimat, A. (2001). Poverty alleviation in Jordan: Lessons for the future. Washington: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shogi, S. (2006). The year of higher prices and taxes, in al-Ayam, Weekly Newspaper, Morocco, October 31–November 5, No. 203).Google Scholar
  54. Stiglitz, J. (2002). Globalisation and its discontents. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  55. Wazani, K. (1996). The financial system and fiscal policy in Jordan, Amman, Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan, (in Arabic).Google Scholar
  56. Wiktorowicz, Q. (1999). The limits of democracy in the Middle East: The case of Jordan. Middle East Journal, 53(4), 606–620.Google Scholar
  57. Williamson, J. (1999). What should the bank think about the Washington Consensus? Washington, District of Columbia: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  58. World Bank (1957). Economic development in Jordan, IBDR, Baltimore: John Hopkins.Google Scholar
  59. World Bank (1993a). Consolidating economic adjustment and establishing the base for sustainable growth, Washington, World Bank, Country Economic Memorandum, Report No. 12645.Google Scholar
  60. World Bank (1993b). Jordan: Energy sector adjustment loan, Washington, IBRD, Report No. P-6097-J.Google Scholar
  61. World Bank (1994). Jordan—Agriculture sector adjustment operation project, Washington, IBRD, Report No. P-6382.Google Scholar
  62. World Bank (1998). The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Energy sector adjustment loan, Washington, World Bank, Loan 3651-Jo, Report No. 18069.Google Scholar
  63. World Bank (1999). Country assistance strategy of the World Bank group for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Washington, World Bank, Report No. 19890-Jo.Google Scholar
  64. World Bank (2001). Implementation completion report on the third economic and development loan (ERDL III) to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Washington, World Bank, June 19, Report No. 21848.Google Scholar
  65. World Bank (2002a). Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Update the World Bank Group, The World Bank preparing its country assistance strategy for Jordan, third quarter, A quarterly Publication of Jordan Country Unit, Washington, World Bank.Google Scholar
  66. World Bank (2002b). Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Update the World Bank Group, The World Bank preparing its country assistance strategy for Jordan, fourth quarter, A quarterly Publication of Jordan Country Unit, Washington, World Bank.Google Scholar
  67. World Bank (2003a). The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Country assistance evaluation, Operation Evaluation Department, World Bank, 2003, Report No. 26875-Jo October 2003.Google Scholar
  68. World Bank (2003b). World Bank's strategy in Jordan since 1990, a collaborative study between the World Bank and Islamic Development Bank, Washington, World Bank.Google Scholar
  69. World Bank (2004). Jordan: Economic development in the 1990s and World Bank assistance. Washington: World Bank.Google Scholar
  70. Zakharova, D. (2004). Development of social protection institutions. In Jordan: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, IMF, IMF Country Report No. 04/121, May 2004, pp. 100–123.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  3. 3.Bradford UniversityBradfordUK

Personalised recommendations