In a virtual session with Alumni of the American University in Cairo Abu-Ghazaleh: Corona Epidemic Enforces Jordanian Economy to Adopt ‘Self-reliance’ Slogan
AMMAN – International economic expert, Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder and chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global (TAG.Global), affirmed that Jordan, unlike in other countries where prompt measures were tardy, managed to deal with the Coronavirus epidemic effectively and successfully. He pointed out that Jordan adhered to its World Health Organization (WHO) commitments by fully implementing the precautionary measures outlined in the Organization’s Protocol including ‘Quarantine and Social Distancing’.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh’s remarks were part of his participation in a virtual dialogue session with the American University in Cairo (AUC) Alumni, organized by the President of the AUC-Alumni Chapter in Jordan, Eng. Mahmoud Obeid on the occasion of the University’s 75th Anniversary. The dialogue theme was the Corona epidemic and its economic and political consequences, in addition to reviewing possible strategies for overcoming the crisis in light of the many political global repercussions.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh stated that this epidemic, which took the whole world by surprise without any prior warning will unquestionably be defeated, and a vaccine will undoubtedly be developed. But he further pointed out that “we have to expect the global economy to shrink and global monetary and financial issues to remain in turmoil, and that would force governments to think about the post-corona era with the aim of fixing economic tracks, imposing additional responsibilities and enacting laws to fill the gaps that the Corona crisis has revealed, particularly in the existing provisions of public law.
Regarding the impact of the Corona crisis on the economic situation Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh tackled the challenges imposed by this stage and how to benefit from the opportunities such challenges may create. Referring to the Jordanian economy as an example he said that Jordan’s national income relies on inflow of direct foreign aid and remittances of Jordanian expatriates at a percentage that reaches 10% which was utilized in creating job opportunities and providing various services. He noted that the unemployment rate in the public sector, (that constitute 42% of the country’s labor force), has reached 19% as a whole, but it reached 30% among the youth.
With the oil price fall to less than $30 in 2016, and [today] to probably $25 after Corona crisis, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh believes that Jordan would not get any foreign aid to support its budget. Thus, the crisis would add additional negative repercussions to an already deteriorating economic situation. He indicated that the public debt to gross domestic product rate has almost reached 100% which is dangerous , therefore, ‘self-reliance’ should be our slogan in the upcoming phases.
Furthermore, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh stressed that since we are encountering a set of economic burdens, though with limited capabilities and resources, we are required to build a medium-term economic plan towards economic recovery, even if this necessitates increasing government spending on the most affected sectors and individuals; and even if it results in a temporary increase in public debt. Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh also emphasized the need for restoring citizens’ trust in their governments to work together in setting plans that are acceptable by all for the reason of sharing and bearing their economic consequences, if any.
It’s worth mentioning that HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah II is the Honorary President of the American University in Cairo – Alumni Forum in Jordan and HE Dr. Jawad Anani, is the President of its Board of Trustees. The Forum that includes more than 200 political, national, economic social and intellectual figures, hosts national personalities to discuss important issues on the international, regional and Arab scene.