RSS

Focus On Jordan

VitalStatistics

Population: 6,046,000
Monetary unit: Jordanian dinar (JD)
Capital city: Amman
Major languages: Arabic
Major religions: Sunni Muslim c. 95%; Christian c. 3%; other (most- ly Shi(i Muslim and Druze) c. 2%
Ethnic composition: Arab 97.8%, of which Jordanian 32.4%, Palestinian 32.2%, Iraqi 14.0%, Bedouin 12.8%; Circassian 1.2%; other 1.0%
Age breakdown: under 15, 37.2%; 15–29, 28.9%; 30–44, 20.7%; 45–59, 8.2%; 60–74, 4.2%; 75–84, 0.7%; 85 and over, 0.1%
Life expectancy: male 71.6 years; female 74.4 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25 and over having: no formal schooling: illiterate 14.0%, literate 4.8%; primary/lower secondary education 36.6%; upper secondary 19.4%; some higher 25.1%, of which advanced degree 2.1%; unknown 0.1%. Literacy (2008): percentage of population age 15 and over literate 92.3%; males 95.9%; females 88.6%
Urban/Rural split: urban 78.5%; rural 21.5%
Income per household (USD): $8,770
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Rami Jarrar, public relations assistant manager at Samsung Electronics Levant, believes that the PR market in Jordan is growing. “Jordan is a gateway to the Levant area and business is booming,” he says. “This makes for a competitive market, and in recent years companies have begun to use media coverage as a way to stand out. As a result, effective PR has become vital for corporate success in Jordan.”

 
Halim Salfiti, Chairman of the Board at Al-Tajamouat for Touristic Projects, adds that this is driving increasing innovation in the PR industry. “Jordan is a relatively small country,” he says. “So, PR is an essential part of every organisation’s marketing strategy. As more and more organisations discover the power of PR so they are becoming increasingly innovative in the way the try to gain that media coverage.”

 

For many this has in recent years meant an increased focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR). “Many companies are now looking at CSR,” reports Naser Abu Ghazaleh, chief business development officer at Investbank. “The first CSR forum organised by TRACCS in co-operation with the Greater Amman Municipality took place in 2007, and this did a great deal to raise awareness of this form of PR.”

 

Working There

In Association With:

Fabric recruitment

Red Tape

There are a number of international gas and oil companies that have a presence in Jordan and these - along with the medical and education sectors - hold most of the employment opportunities for foreign nationals.

Entry visas

It's highly likely that you'll need an entry visa to be allowed into Jordan. Citizens from Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City and Yemen do not require a visa to enter the country but everyone else does. Most nationalities can obtain single entry

visas - valid for a month - on arrival at any port of entry (except for the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan/Israel border). As of January 2011, a single entry visa costs 20 Jordanian Dinars (JD). If you intend to stay in Jordan for more than 30 days - either as a resident or as a long-term visitor, you’ll have to register your passport at the local police station. You’ll also be expected to undergo an HIV test. The fee to obtain the required health certificate is currently 20JD.

Work visas

To apply for a work visa, you should have a fully completed visa application form, two passport

photos, a valid national visa, a valid resident visa, a confirmation letter from your health insurance stating coverage, proof of accommodation, current bank
statements, a reference letter from your employer and the visa fees.

When hiring a foreign national, Jordanian employers are required by law to get prior consent from the Ministry of Labour. The work permit that is subsequently given to expats usually only lasts for one year but it can be extended at the end of that time. Most employers will negotiate the bureaucratic procedures and accompanying documentation for you.

Costs

The currency in Jordan is the Jordanian dinar. The rate is effectively fixed at 0.71 JD per US dollar, which makes Jordan poorer value than it would otherwise be. The dollar and the dinar are so closely linked that many of the higher-end restaurants and shops will accept US dollars as payment.

Everyday living

Jordan has a relatively low cost of living for most expats, particularly when compared with the other Arab states. The cost of groceries is reasonable, especially if you choose to purchase local produce and brands rather than opting for the goods that have to be imported. Western clothing is also more expensive, for the same reason.

An approximate daily budget would be around 15JD per day if you live and eat very simply and cheaply. However, allowing a budget of roughly 25JD a day gives you slightly better accommodation, a few meals out a week and even the occasional alcoholic drink. Restaurants are usually very affordable. You'll probably pay 2JD for a starter and between 15JD and 25JD for main courses.

Taxes

Both residents and non-residents pay tax on the money they earn while working in Jordan. But there are a number of tax treaties in place that ensure expats aren’t charged for their Jordanian income in their home country as well. If you work for a non-Jordanian company, you may even find that you can work without having your salary taxed at all.

Interestingly, tax threshold is higher for people with a spouse and children than it is for single individuals. Capital gains aren’t taxed in Jordan; income is classed only as personal income and taxed at the standard rate - an attractive prospect for wealthy individuals.

Transport

Taxis are readily available in most cities; they’re bright yellow and generally in good condition. A 10km trip should cost you around 2JD. Public transport is also cheap: less than 500 fils per hour of travel by public bus and about 1JD per hour if you prefer to travel in comfort on a private coach.

Fuel prices are fixed by the state-owned company, so all petrol stations have the same prices.

Accommodation

The cost of renting property is fairly reasonable when compared with
the cost of renting similar properties in the major European or US
cities.

It’s possible to get furnished apartments from around 200JD to 600JD  a month. Many landlords prefer you to pay up front and sign a contract that binds you into staying for at least half a year.

However, you may find yourself paying a property tax. This is applied whether or not the property is lived in by a tenant or the owner. There’s also a 2% tax on annual rent that’s paid by all renters.

Utilities are almost never included in the price of the rent. Depending on the month, these bills can be fairly high, particularly in the summer when you’re likely to be using your air conditioning a lot.

Tenants also have to pay a service charge of between 21JD and 35JD per month. This money covers the cost of things like communal lighting, sewer/waste water rates and rubbish collection.

Culture Snapshot

Jordan is an ethnically and religiously diverse population and the Jordanians are known for their cultural appreciation and tolerance as well as their Arab hospitality. The tourist appeal of places like Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea has helped boost the economy and the King of Jordan has committed himself to improving the standards of Jordan's healthcare, housing and education system.

Jordan is quite a liberal nation: women can wear western clothing and walk alone without attracting attention and locals are used to mixing with people of many different cultures and backgrounds. However, keep in mind Jordan is a Muslim nation and not all western norms will be accepted.

Safety

Despite being close to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Israeli and Palestinian Territories hotspots, Jordan is considered to be a relatively safe and stable country. There has been some trouble in the past with

terrorist attacks and protests but the country hasn’t experienced any major unrest in the past few years.

Food

Jordanian cuisine is quite similar to the food served elsewhere in the region. The daily staple is a large flat bread called khobez, which is sold in bakeries everywhere.

The national dish of Jordan is the mansaf, which is a large platter layered with traditional bread, rice, and chunks of marinated lamb cooked in a sauce made from jameed (sun-dried yoghurt) and spices with pine nuts or almonds sprinkled on the top.

Things to see and do

The ancient Nabataean city of Petra is a must-see sight. There’s also a wealth of ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels, and biblical sites. The cities are full of shops, clubs and bars as well

as restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisines. Restaurants are usually quite reasonably priced and eating out is an affordable pastime for most expats. Alcohol is not as frowned upon as it is in some Muslim countries; however, drinking in the street is not permitted.

Jordan also boasts the biggest water park in the region - Amman Waves Aqua Park and Resort. As well as having the best waves in Amman, it’s got a multitude of activities to entertain the whole family.

Lastly, for the energetic expats, there are a number of good golf courses as well as places to play football and go horse riding.

All local costs/regulations correct as of October 2011. While Fabric and PRWeek endeavour to provide the correct information they accept no liability.

MyMove

,

Media

PR practitioners report that they have a particularly good relationship with the Jordanian media.

With just seven main daily newspapers – Al-Dustour, Al-Arab Al-Yawm, Alghad, Al Ra'i, Assabeel, Al Anbat and The Jordan Times - a few business magazines and a handful of online news portals, the country's media is certainly a manageable size.

As more and more companies have become media-savvy so they have worked hard to build productive relationships with the titles.

The television market is very limited and Jordanians tend to watch little more than JTV and then only at peak times. It is still very much about print in Jordan, and Jarrar at Samsung

says that, although the print media is becoming more segmented, there is still a lack of professionally trained and experienced journalists.

Many PR experts complain that coverage is still determined by advertising spend. “If a company is a heavy spender in terms of advertising, then they will get very good coverage when it comes to PR and press releases,” says Ghazaleh at Investbank. “Most media will publish press releases just as they are without even trying to add anything to it.”

Finally, social media is becoming more and more important in Jordan. Ghalia Alul, who was until recently director of communications for the Government of Jordan, says: “With more than 70% of the population under 30, Jordan is a very young country, and young

people consume their information very differently from older generations. They're also much more used to communications being a dialogue where they can contribute. For all these reasons understanding social media in this part of the world is vital.”

She adds: “Former Prime Minister, Samir Al Rifai was a pioneer in using social media to communicate with the younger generation about issues that affected their everyday lives. He didn't just have a Facebook page but would get into genuine debates with the public on his wall and tweet back on his way home from the office. The dialogue is still ongoing even after he left office.”

Major Brands

There is broad agreement that telecommunications companies such as Zain, Umniah and Orange, banks such as the Arab Bank, Investbank and Housing Bank, and electronic companies such as Samsung and LG are leading the way in Jordanian PR. The automotive and real estate sectors are not far behind.

Alul adds: “Zumot wine has built a reputation for its organic wine, Aramex has gained a name for its logistics and transportation solutions, and a humanitarian initiative called Tkiyet um Ali has gained a great deal of coverage of its work providing food and services to the less privileged sectors of Jordanian society.”

Agencies

While five years ago many companies did their PR in-house, today most recognise the need for the specialist advice and assistance that an agency can offer. The main PR agencies are TRACCS Jordan, Asda'a PR, Tactix, Polaris and Bidaya.

 

Have we missed something? Click here to send us an update

PRWeek Global Thinktank sponsors