If you are researching online content in Arabic, chances are it was made in Jordan. About 75% of global online Arabic content is developed in the Kingdom, a study by the US Department of Commerce shows. The same study acknowledges the industry as a true testament to Jordan’s talent pool. While ICT works represent just 1% of the market, they now contribute 12% to its GDP.
Because Jordan is one of the few Arab nations that is a net importer of energy, it has had to build its economy on top of services, increasingly the ICT industry, which is today the country’s third top economic contributor. Jordanians now benefit from some of the best ICT infrastructure in the region, enabling high Internet penetration, which reached 87.8% in 2017, compared to 92.6% in France during the same period, according to Internet World Stats.
France has long had a large stake in Jordan’s tech sector. Orange is a stalwart of the ICT industry, playing an integral role in the country’s modernization through 4G and fiber infrastructure, and has now expanded into start-up funding. The French telecom major even has its own incubator, called “Big by Orange,” which is today in its fifth season.
Such access to technology and funding has allowed Jordan to continue progressing amid regional strife. Today, international tech companies such as Microsoft, Rubicon, Oracle and LG Electronics, to name a few, have all invested in Jordan, adding confidence to the technical and professional capabilities of the market can provide. “Jordan has human capital that’s affordable and we are competitive compared to countries that are focused on business-process outsourcing,” asserts Minister of ICT Mothanna Gharaibeh, citing the Global Talent Competitive Index 2018, which ranks Jordan 54 of 119 countries, ahead of the Philippines and Lebanon.
Start-ups have proven this prowess by quickly entering hot niches, such as blockchain. “There are a lot of fintech and blockchain companies coming out of Jordanian accelerators,” says the EBRD’s Country Director for Jordan Heike Harmgart, naming peer-to-peer lending platform Liwwa by example. “Fintech is definitely a good investment opportunity to watch in Jordan.”