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Conducting Market Systems Conducting Market Systems Programming in Jordan:Background and Context

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan occupies a unique position in the Middle East.The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan occupies a unique position in the Middle East.Geographically speaking, Jordan has a distinctive role to play given its proximityto regional conflicts. Acting as a linchpin for regional security, the Kingdom hasstrategically placed itself at the forefront of discussions on peace and stability andhas become a moderating force throughout the region. Some of the Kingdom’sstrongest assets are its youth and women, who represent a tremendous source ofunderutilized innovation, labour, and knowledge. Current literature about labourmarket participation and civic engagement showcases several opportunities forwomen and youth to improve their access to resources while also contributing to theircommunities and solidifying Jordan’s leadership in the Middle East.This paper documents some of Jordan’s key economic challenges and how theyimpact Jordanian women and youth, as well as the efforts to alleviate issues that havestemmed from – or have been exacerbated by – these challenges. Emphasis will beplaced on issues relating to education, employment, gender, and the divide betweenthe public and private sectors. Overall, this will help illustrate the context in whichMEDA’s Jordan Valley Links project operates and, where appropriate, the implicationsfor MEDA and other organizations conducting programming in the country.