Jordan Threshold Program

  • Grant Total: $25,000,000
  • Signed: October 17, 2006
  • Completed: August 29, 2009

MCC selected Jordan to participate in the Threshold Program in FY 2006. When Jordan was selected as threshold eligible it did not meet three indicators in Ruling Justly – Political Rights, Civil Liberties, and Voice and Accountability – and did not pass three indicators in Economic Freedom category, including the Trade Policy indicator. To assist the Government of Jordan with its threshold program proposal, MCC provided an indicator analysis that highlighted key policy constraints, inclusive of those raised by the eligibility indicator institutions. 

The Jordan threshold program targeted the policy areas measured by three MCC selection indicators, Political Rights, Voice and Accountability, and Trade Policy. Jordan’s threshold program included two components that focused on strengthening municipal governance and modernizing customs administration.

Program Achievements

Under the “Modernize Customs Administration” (CAMP) component, Jordan’s Threshold Program helped to implement a single-window system in five customs centers across the country to improve security and increase efficiency. In addition, the program helped upgrade the Jordanian customs clearance system to an online clearance system in 14 locations across the country. A study using World Customs Organization methodology has shown that as a direct result of these and other efforts, the threshold program helped to significantly reduce clearance and processing times across the country, sometimes by as much as 80 percent.

Through the “Strengthening Municipal Government” component, the Jordan Local Governance Development Program (LGDP) was designed to empower local governments and enhance citizens’ participation in local level decision making in pilot municipalities throughout Jordan. The component also supported efforts to increase women and youth participation in local elections, including launching a “Get out the Vote” campaign in districts across the country. The Women’s Knowledge Network, supported by the program, created a forum for discussion and support among newly elected women in public service of municipal councils. The program further helped to improve local governance capacity by assisting municipal staff in creating three-year development plans and increasing coordination with the private sector.

Since the threshold program’s inception, Jordan’s Trade Freedom score on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom jumped from 64.2% (categorized as “moderately free” by the Heritage Foundation) in 2007 to 74.8% (“mostly free”) in 2008. The achievements of the CAMP component also helped Jordan increase its MCC Trade Policy score by 22% in two years, from 57% in FY 2007 to 79% in FY 2009.

NOTE: Prior to beginning implementation of the threshold program, the Government of Jordan agreed to undertake several initiatives. These initiatives included the enactment of a new Municipalities Law that would directly elect municipal office holders and enshrine a 20% quota for women’s membership, revision of the Civil Society Organizations law and other reforms to increase political space and civil rights.

Jordan Threshold Program Implementation

The program agreement was signed by the Government of Jordan and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which was responsible for implementing the program on MCC’s behalf, in October 2006. The program officially concluded in August 2009. As the program administrator, USAID managed program operations and oversaw the program implementing partner: Associates in Rural Development, Inc. (ARD). The program worked with government entities, provincial governments, range of civil society organizations, and local media.

Modernizing Customs Administration Project

Objective

Modernize customs administration by improving efficiency and increasing coordination between the systems and procedures of the Jordan Customs Department and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority Customs Department.

Activities

Improve the efficiency of customs administration and customs clearance procedures through training, and updating policies and procedures so that they align with international best practices as well as a conducting communications campaign of activity amongst stakeholders and extensive training and train the trainers programs.

Assist in speeding the flow of import, export and transit goods while ensuring security at the borders by designing and implementing a single window facility and develop the supporting coordination mechanisms and procedural documentation;

Upgrade the existing Automated SYstem for CUstoms DAta (ASYCUDA++ to ASYCUDAWorld)

Upgrade human resources and revise the incentive structure, develop a training service that contributes to improved business performance through training and staff development.

Launch a communications campaign targeting internal stakeholders and external stakeholders

Strengthening Municipal Government Project

Objective

Empower local governments and enhance citizens’ participation in local-level decision-making in pilot municipalities throughout Jordan.

Activities

Increase public participation and representation in a free and fair electoral process, including a focus on increasing women’s participation in public office

Increase citizen awareness of local government and increase capacity of citizens to advocate for their interests and hold local government’s accountable by mobilizing neighborhood communities, women’s and youth association and providing platforms for advocacy

Promote public-private sector partnerships for local development planning and implementation

Increase capacity of elected officials to improve municipal performance and delivery of public services by improving financial, fiscal, and human resource management systems

Increase responsiveness of local governments to citizen concerns through a Special Incentive Fund, training, creation of citizen outreach units in local governments, and hold regular meetings of municipal development planning committees.