Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. It places high on the Human Development index, which measures basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. It also ranks first in the state of democratic reforms out of fifteen Arab countries. Yet despite its good record, as the winds of the Arab Spring swept through the Middle East, Jordan was not spared protests calling for reforms. Most of the protestors objected to some government policies, high food prices and multiple taxes.
In response, King Abdullah dismissed the government and asked former army general Marouf al-Bakhit to form a new Cabinet, asking him to "take quick, concrete and practical steps to launch a genuine political reform process".
"We welcome the initiatives that His Majesty has already embarked on, and feel confident that, to the extent that he’s able to move these reforms forward, this will be good for the security and stability of Jordan, but also will be good for the economic prosperity of the people of Jordan," said President Obama:
"Along those lines, one of the things we discussed is how the United States can continue to be supportive of these economic efforts that His Majesty has embarked on, and so I’m pleased to announce that we have mobilized several hundreds of millions of dollars through OPIC, and that will leverage ultimately about $1 billion for economic development inside of Jordan."
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC, is an independent U.S. government agency that assists U.S. companies investing in emerging economies around the world. It is looking to provide over $400 million in financing to mobilize $1 billion of development projects in Jordan. Also, in order to off-set a spike in global commodity prices, the U.S. will send 50,000 metric tons of wheat to Jordan.
Current U.S. aid to Jordan includes about $463 million in U.S. Agency for International Development programs and program support, $300 million in military assistance, and a $275 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact signed in October 2010.
"All of this will help to stabilize the cost of living and day-to-day situation of Jordanians," said President Obama, "and will provide a foundation so that these economic reforms can move forward and long-term development can take place."