The Council is
at the onset of conducting an analytical study on the economic and social
conditions in the Wadi Araba district in Jordan. The study is aimed at
understanding the area’s social and economic needs; to provide recommendations
and potential solutions to the difficulties and challenges faced in this
district. In light of the ESC’s work, the President along with researchers from
the Council visited the district on the 25th of October 2018 to meet
with the official bodies working in the field, civil society institutions and
some of the district’s residents.
initial session was attended by the director of the Wadi Araba district, the
executive director of the Wadi Araba Development Company, the head of the local
police center, the heads and the former heads of the municipalities from the
Wadi Araba district, the deputy chairman of the governorate council and several
of the civil society’s organizations.
session started with a welcome note by the director of the Wadi Araba district
in which he stressed the importance of the Council’s visit in exploring the
current state of the district and accordingly drawing the required perceptions
for the development of the district. After which the Council’s President, Dr
Mustafa Hamarneh, spoke of the main aims of this exploratory visit in listening
to the local community about the current state of the district and the
challenges it faces. With the Council’s role as the government’s think-tank and
consultative body, Dr Hamarneh is hopeful that this study will provide the
required knowledge and potential solutions for the development of the district.
the session, people from the local community expressed that the district is
considered the poorest in the country, and that they have become hopeless from
all the visits they have hosted believing they were futile.
heads of the municipalities of the Wadi Araba district expressed some of the
problems and challenges faced in the district. One of which being the lack of
infrastructure needed to attract large investments to the district. Specific
reference was made with regards to the roads connecting the district with other
parts of the country. For example, the road leading to Aqaba has been built
over 40 years without much maintenance. It was pointed out that since this road
is mainly used by 3 large companies, they should contribute to the maintenance
of the roads and the infrastructure of the district. Another issue facing the
district is regarding the health services provided, and so a request was made
on the importance of establishing a public healthcare center in the district.
Other issues that were referred to include, the importance of starting
industrial projects in the district, the importance of the government to search
for irrigation sources for the agricultural units in the district, and to the
problem of rising poverty and unemployment levels.
issue referred to was in relation to the Wadi Araba Development Company, and
the difficulty it faces in implementing projects due to the policies that
govern the company. The fact that its budget is part of the Jordan Valley
Authority’s budget is what steers the company away from its development
dimension towards implementing other projects within the water sector. Therefore
having an independent budget will be necessary for the company to work towards
the development of the district.
issues referred to involve the Wadi Musa Dam being under study for the past 30
years even though it serves 1200 acres, also suggesting building another dam.
The tourism sector was also discussed pointing to the obstacles that hinder the
development of any tourist complex.
from the local community also took part in the discussion pointing out the
nonexistence of projects that target female participation in the labor market.
One lady requested a new building for the charity she runs which serves 18
children with special needs and 60 orphans. Another lady requested emphasis to
be placed on improving education provision pointing to the fact that not a
single student passed the General Secondary Examination (Tawjehi) for the
school year 2017-2018.
President of the Council concluded the session emphasizing the need to empower
the local community by establishing sustainable projects, according to the
Province’s competitive advantage, as income generating opportunities. He
emphasized the importance of creating projects that would specifically allow
women to work and utilize their potential skills to support their families in
increasing household income and improving living standards.