Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan and the country's economic, political and cultural centre. With a population of 4,007,526, Amman is the largest city in the Levant region and the fifth-largest city in the Arab world. It is considered to be among the most modernized Arab cities and a major tourist destination. It is the residence of the king and the seat of government. The city is built on rolling hills at the eastern boundary of the ʿAjlūn Mountains, on the small, partly perennial Wadi ʿAmmān and its tributaries. The earliest evidence of settlement in Amman is in a Neolithic site known as 'Ain Ghazal, where some of the oldest human statues ever found dating to 7250 BC were uncovered. It was named Philadelphia during its Greek and Roman periods, and was finally called Amman during the Islamic period. For much of the early and middle Islamic periods it served as a center for the Balqa district of Syria. Afterward Amman was a largely abandoned site until the late 19th century when Circassian immigrants were settled there by the Ottoman Empire in 1867. The first municipal council was established in 1909. Amman witnessed rapid growth after its designation as Transjordan's capital in 1921, and after several successive waves of refugees: Palestinians in 1948 and 1967; Iraqis in 1990 and 2003; and Syrians since 2011. Areas of Amman have gained their names from either the hills or the valleys they occupy, such as Jabal Lweibdeh and Wadi Abdoun. East Amman is predominantly filled with historic sites that frequently host cultural activities, while West Amman is more modern and serves as the economic center of the city.
Approximately two million visitors arrived in Amman in 2014, which made it the 93rd most visited city in the world and the 5th most visited Arab city. Amman has a relatively fast growing economy, and it is ranked Beta− on the global city index.Moreover, it was named one of the Middle East and North Africa's best cities according to economic, labor, environmental, and socio-cultural factors. The city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to set up their regional offices, alongside Doha and only behind Dubai.
Data and Facts
- Amman hosted a Guinness World Record at the Landmark hotel on July 28, 2012 when 10 chefs prepared the largest falafel ever. The record-setting falafel measured 51.2 inches (130 centimeters) in diameter and weighed 164.8 pounds (74.75 kilograms)
- Jordan exported US$7.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016 according to the estimates from the International Trade Centre
- Amman’s built-up urban area has a population of 2.5 million over a land area measuring 133 square miles (344 square kilometers)
- At the country level, Jordan’s land area covers 34,287 square miles (88,802 square kilometers). The national population count was 8.2 million inhabitants as of July 2016
- Should you have the energy, you can cover the entire country on foot – via the Jordan Trail. Inaugurated last year, this hiking heaven meanders 402 miles between Um Qais in the far north (almost on the Israeli border), and Aqaba
The first municipal council in the capital city of Jordan, Amman, was established in 1909. Amman is governed by a 41-member city council elected in four-year term direct elections. All Jordanian citizens above 18 years old are eligible to vote in the municipal elections. However, the mayor is appointed by the king and not through elections. In 1909 a city council was established in Amman by Circassian Ismael Babouk who became the first ever mayor of the capital, and in 1914 Amman's first city district centre was founded.The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) has been investing towards making the city a better place, through a number of initiatives. Green Amman 2020 was initiated in 2014, aiming to turn the city to a green metropolis by 2020. According to official statistics, only 2.5% of Amman is green space. In 2015 GAM and Zain Jordan started operating free-of-charge Wi-Fi services at 15 locations, including Wakalat Street, Rainbow Street, The Hashemite Plaza, Ashrafieh Cultural Complex, Zaha Cultural Centre, Al Hussein Cultural Center, Al Hussein Public Parks and others.Jordan is divided into twelve administrative divisions, each called a governorate. The Amman Governorate divides into nine nahias, five of which are divided into districts and are further divided into neighborhoods. The other four nahias lying in the suburbs are either divided into villages or towns. The city is administered as the Greater Amman Municipality and covers 27 districts.
Amman is Jordan’s chief commercial, financial, and international trade centre. The royal palaces are to the east; the Parliament is in the western section. Chief industries include food and tobacco processing, cement production, and the manufacture of textiles, paper products, plastics, and aluminum utensils.
The banking sector is one of the principal foundations of Jordan's economy. Despite the unrest and economic difficulties in the Arab world resulting from the Arab Spring uprisings, Jordan's banking sector maintained its growth in 2014. The sector currently consists of 25 banks, 15 of which are listed on the Amman Stock Exchange. Amman is the base city for the international Arab Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East, serving clients in more than 600 branches in 30 countries on five continents. Arab Bank represents 28% of the Amman Stock Exchange and is the highest-ranked institution by market capitalization on the exchange.Amman is the 4th most visited Arab city and the ninth highest recipient of international visitor spending. Roughly 1.8 million tourists visited Amman in 2011 and spent over $1.3 billion in the city. The expansion of Queen Alia International Airport is an example of the Greater Amman Municipality's heavy investment in the city's infrastructure. The recent construction of a public transportation system and a national railway, and the expansion of roads, are intended to ease the traffic generated by the millions of annual visitors to the city. Amman, and Jordan in general, is the Middle East's hub for medical tourism. Jordan receives the most medical tourists in the region and the fifth highest in the world. Amman receives 250,000 foreign patients a year and over $1 billion annually.Amman is introducing itself as a business hub. The city's skyline is being continuously transformed through the emergence of new projects. A significant portion of business flowed into Amman following the 2003 Iraq War. Jordan's main airport, Queen Alia International Airport, is located south of Amman and is the hub for the country's national carrier Royal Jordanian, a major airline in the region. The airline is headquartered in Zahran district. Rubicon Group Holding and Maktoob, two major regional information technology companies, are based in Amman, along with major international corporations such as Hikma Pharmaceuticals, one of the Middle East's largest pharmaceutical companies, and Aramex, the Middle East's largest logistics and transportation company.In a report by Dunia Frontier Consultants, Amman, along with Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, are the favored hubs for multinational corporations operating in the Middle East and North Africa region. In FDI magazine, Amman was chosen as the Middle Eastern city with the most potential to be a leader in foreign direct investment in the region. Furthermore, several of the world's largest investment banks have offices in Amman including Standard Chartered, Société Générale, and Citibank.
A cornerstone of the United States bilateral partnership with Jordan, which is based on mutual objectives of prosperity, stability and security, the FTA has resulted in an over 800% increase in bilateral trade. Today, as a result of the FTA, the United States is one of Jordan’s top five trading partners. Bilateral trade increased almost 10% in 2016 compared to 2015, driven by a 10% increase in U.S. exports to Jordan year on year. U.S. exports of services to Jordan were an estimated $710 million in 2015 .
The FTA has not only meant greater trade in goods between the two countries, but also trade in services, investment, and job creation. Since the signing of the FTA, Jordan demonstrated commitment to its obligations by upgrading and introducing the legislative environment for bilateral trade and investment. Jordan adopted a number of legal and regulatory reforms aimed at safeguarding intellectual property rights, enhancing labor and environmental standards, and tackling dispute settlement procedures. The FTA does not include an investment chapter, as the United States has a separate Bilateral Investment Treaty with Jordan. The U.S. – Jordan FTA along with the Bilateral Investment Treaty spurred mutual investment interests. Jordan today hosts some U.S. private sector giants such as; AES, Albemarle, Cargill, Microsoft, Cisco, Del Monte, among others. Moreover, Jordan’s energy diversification efforts created investment opportunities, and U.S companies were the first to pursue; First Solar, and Hecate are examples of success in this field and the potential remains huge in the field of renewable energy, energy saving and storage. Besides ICT and energy, sectors like healthcare, security and transportation have great potential for growth. There are different guidelines depending on what type of business you are trying to set up and details can be found through your local authority.
The corporate tax rates in Jordan are applied based on the industry/business activities from which the taxpayer generates income:
35% for banks.
24% for telecommunication, insurance and reinsurance, financial intermediation companies , companies that generate and distribute electricity, and companies that undertake mining raw material activities.
There are lots of highly-qualified graduates in Jordan and the job market is fairly competitive. However, you need to describe your future goals as there may be a reluctance to commit to a start-up company which hasn’t been established for a long time.The way recruitment has been done at FuAIS has mostly been through social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Other popular job listing boards in Jordan are akhtaboot.com, bayt.com, and opensooq.com. An internship scheme can also be a good way for aspiring employees to learn about the company.
With the exception of a functioning railway system, Amman has a railway station as part of the Hejaz Railway. Amman has a developed public and private transportation system. There are two international airports in Amman. The main airport serving Amman is Queen Alia International Airport, situated about 30 km south of Amman. Much smaller is Amman Civil Airport, a one-terminal airport that serves primarily domestic and nearby international routes and the army. Queen Alia International Airport is the major international airport in Jordan and the hub for Royal Jordanian, the flag carrier. Its expansion was recently done and modified, including the decommissioning of the old terminals and the commissioning of new terminals costing $700M, to handle over 16 million passengers annually.[ It is now considered a state-of-the-art airport and was named 'the best airport in the Middle East' for 2014 and 2015 and 'the best improvement in the Middle East' for 2014 by Airport Service Quality Survey, the world's leading airport passenger satisfaction benchmark program.Amman has an extensive road network, although the mountainous terrain of the area has prevented the connection of some main roads, which are instead connected by bridges and tunnels. The Abdoun Bridge spans Wadi Abdoun and connects the 4th Circle to Abdoun Circle. It is considered one of Amman's many landmarks and is the first curved suspended bridge to be built in the country.There are eight circles, or roundabouts, that span and connect west Amman. Successive waves of immigrants to the city has led to the rapid construction of new neighborhoods, but Amman's capacity for new or widened roads remains limited despite the influx. This has resulted in increasing traffic jams, particularly during summer when there are large numbers of tourists and Jordanian expatriates visiting. The municipality began construction on a bus rapid transit system as a solution in 2015. In 2015, a ring road encompassing the city was constructed, which aims to connect the northern and southern parts of the city in order for traffic to be diverted outside Amman and to improve the environmental conditions in the city.The city has frequent bus connections to other cities in Jordan, as well as to major cities in neighboring countries; the latter are also served by service taxis. Service taxis, which most often operate on fixed routes, are readily available and inexpensive. The two main bus and taxi stations are Abdali and the Raghadan Central Bus Station near the Roman theatre in the city centre. Popular Jordanian bus company services include JETT and Al-Mahatta. Taxis are the most common way to get around in Amman due their high availability and inexpensiveness.Currently under construction are dedicated lanes for bus services which will operate as part of the new urban rapid transit network . The system includes high-quality stations and stops; express buses that can carry more than 120 passengers and will run on a three-minute frequency during peak hours along Amman's busiest corridors; terminals and park-n-ride facilities; and an integrated fare collection system allowing passengers to pay the fare at stations before embarking on the bus.[ The BRT is planned to run along three major corridors.
According to a recent infographic, Amman is growing to become the regional technology capital for startups. The data shows that in 2011 and 2012, Jordan is placed first in the region in number of tech deals funded, second in the region in amount of funds invested, and as the 10th best place to start a company in the whole world.
With an eightfold increase in tech support between 2001 and 2013, Jordan’s tech sector has been booming. This infographic, created by Innovative Jordan in collaboration with Int@j, Oasis500, Silicon Badia and Kharabeesh shows Jordan as witnessing a surge of 600+ tech companies and 300+ startups, leading to the creation of 84,000 jobs and comprising 12% of the country’s GDP. And 30% of the labor force in Jordan’s tech industry are women. As the best performing non-oil economy in the MENA region as measured by real GDP growth between 1999 and 2013, Amman is also the leading location for Arabic content creation on the internet.
Jordan has managed to build a relatively mature ecosystem with supporting institutions across the entire lifecycle of a company, which has been a catalyst to its success. Global tech partners like CISCO, Microsoft, Intel, and Oracle were part of this cycle in addition to multiple key players like commercial banks, private equity, angel investors, and accelerators. This has infused the ecosystem with an international flavor: 20% of entrepreneurs at Oasis500, one of the largest accelerators in Jordan, are non Jordanian.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The population of Amman reached 4,007,526 in 2015; the city contains about 42% of Jordan's entire population. It has a land area of 1,680 km2 which yields a population density of about 2,380 inhabitants per square kilometre . The population of Amman has risen exponentially with the successive waves of immigrants and refugees arriving throughout the 20th century. From a population of roughly 1,000 in 1890, Amman grew to around 1,000,000 inhabitants in 1990, primarily as a result of immigration, but also due to the high birthrate in the city. Amman had been abandoned for centuries until hundreds of Circassians settled it in the 19th century. Today, about 40,000 Circassians live in Amman and its vicinity. After Amman became a major hub along the Hejaz Railway in 1914, many Muslim and Christian merchant families from al-Salt immigrated to the city. A large proportion of Amman's inhabitants have Palestinian roots , and the two main demographic groups in the city today are Arabs of Palestinian or Jordanian descent. Other ethnic groups comprise about 2% of the population. There are no official statistics about the proportion of people of Palestinian or Jordanian descent.New arrivals consisting of Jordanians from the north and south of the country and immigrants from Palestine had increased the city's population from 30,000 in 1930 to 60,000 in 1947. About 10,000 Palestinians, mostly from Safed, Haifa and Acre, migrated to the city for economic opportunities before the 1948 war.Many of the immigrants from al-Salt from that time were originally from Nablus. The 1948 war caused an exodus of urban Muslim and Christian Palestinian refugees, mostly from Jaffa, Ramla and Lydda, to Amman, whose population swelled to 110,000. The children of immigrants in the city are also increasingly referring to themselves as «Ammani», unlike much of the first-generation inhabitants who identify more with their respective places of origin.
Amman has a mostly Sunni Muslim population, and the city contains numerous mosques. Among the main mosques is the large King Abdullah I Mosque, built between 1982 and 1989. It is capped by a blue mosaic dome beneath which 3,000 Muslims may offer prayer. The Abu Darweesh Mosque, noted for its checkered black-and-white pattern, has an architectural style that is unique to Jordan. The mosque is situated on Jabal Ashrafieh, the highest point in the city. The mosque's interior is marked by light-coloured walls and Persian carpets. During the 2004 Amman Message conference, edicts from various clergy-members afforded the following schools of thought as garnering collective recognition: Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i, Ja'fari, Zahiri, Zaydi, Ibadi, tassawuf-related Sufism, Muwahhidism and Salafism. Amman also has a small Druze community.
Large numbers of Christians from throughout Jordan, particularly from al-Salt, have moved to Amman. Nearby Fuheis is a predominantly Christian town located to the northwest of the city. It was influenced by several civilizations including the Romans, Byzantines and Muslims. The site contains some well-preserved mosaic floors, particularly the mosaic floor of the Church of Saint Stephen.
Amman is considered one of the most liberal and westernized cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for Western expatriates and college students who seek to live, study, or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general. The city's culinary scene has changed from its shawerma stands and falafel joints to embrace many popular western restaurants and fast-food outlets such as Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expatriates and Persian Gulf tourists.Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including the Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Shopping Center, Avenue Mall, and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali. Wakalat Street is Amman's first pedestrian-only street and carries a lot of name-label clothes. The Sweifieh area is considered to be the main shopping district of Amman.Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present across Amman, changing the city's old image as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene is shaped by Jordan's young population. In addition to the wide range of drinking and dancing venues on the social circuit of the city's affluent crowd, Amman hosts cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival.