Addressing growth challenges in Jordan

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Guest blog by Rami Alhadid, LEG ’22

Most of the challenges that faces any country’s economic stance are complex and not easy to solve. However any complex problem can be break down to be manageable using robust toolkits, such as PDIA approach, Fishbone diagram, identifying the main binding constraint, AAA techniques…etc.

The PDIA approach entails planning everything possible within the current information, but also being prepared for all situations, circumstances and changes that might (usually will) occur. Starting by identifying the main problem then constructing a fishbone diagram will help identify the binding constraint that we need to focus on especially in early stages to start gaining some success in the right direction toward solving the problem. Gaining successful steps even if some easy wins are very important to gain the trust and the needed support from other entities and states in the economy to help in reaching the target.

The PDIA process also involves continuous iteration down the road, as many circumstances will change, new problems might emerge and an updated understanding of the situation can lead to using different tools or ways to solve them. It is very healthy to adopt a plan that is flexible enough to take changes and deviation whenever needed.

Understanding the product space of the country is vital, knowing the points of strength to expand and the points of weakness to improve. Knowing the comparative advantages of the country will help in identifying many important characteristics of the economic situation and where to begin solving in many cases. Attracting the correct kind of technologies and skill will help a lot in improving the economic environment and attract more investment and more technologies. But the harder part to import usually is the know how which is harder to get and harder to learn. The more letters you have the more complex words you can create and that should be one of the main targets to pursuit to create a sustainable long term high growth scheme. The growth must be looking at from a development perspective by trying to divide the economic improvement in all cities and states of the countries. Diversifying and expanding the production system on all cities will help in promoting the whole economy into more prosperity and enhancement by being more efficient and more just within the country, with the ultimate economic target of having a well-developed and stable economy.

A coherent, well established, coordinated, and interconnected team is a key to success in implementing the changes needed to solve the problem. This team needs to be from all the counterparties and stockholders of different institutions that are required to be involved on different stages of solving the main problem. The team members need to feel the ‘sense of us’ by being engaged and empowered enough to help in that matter.

It is also vital to find a measure of what success looks like. Some problems can be easy to identify when they’re being solved, others might be more tricky to recognize. In all cases identifying a measurement that is easy to digest, especially from the public, will help in engaging all needed segments in the economy to feel that they are part of the solution.

The problem that I believe is the main reason of having a sluggish growth in Jordan during the last decade is not having and attracting enough investment. The investment scheme slowed down at higher pace during this period causing lower supply and lower demand in the economy, high unemployment and slowing growth rate. This problem is not under my direct control or the ministry I am working at. However, this course encouraged me somehow to work perhaps in the future to establish a work force that gets involved in trying to solve this issue. In the meanwhile I am now more inspired to work on the things under my authorities to help solve that problem or at least soothing it out.   

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Leading Economic Growth Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. 71 Participants successfully completed this 10-week online course in May 2022. These are their learning journey stories.

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