The Makkah Summit: Variables and Outputs

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 11 June / Jun 2018. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Mon 11 June / Jun 2018. 10:24 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

The most important message behind the Gulf states’ rally to Jordan’s aid is to reaffirm that the Kingdom is not alone in the face of its internal crises and the external, regional turmoil on our every frontier, almost.

The Makkah quartet, organised by the Saudi leadership, is perhaps the most encompassing movement of the sort, embedding a thorough understanding of Jordan’s vitality to the region’s stability.

A ranking official with the state, commenting on the Gulf’s USD2.5 billion aid package, confirms that these amounts will surely reinforce Jordan’s financial capacities and allow it to meet its liabilities. More so, these amounts will reinforce Jordan’s reputation, when it comes to earning the trust of investors and international institutions alike.

The moment the package was announced, Jordan’s bond value soared to its highest levels in a week, a Thompson report confirms.

All of these signs speak volumes when it comes to reassurances on the stability of Jordan’s economy.

More so are the Central Bank of Jordan’s wise approach to maintaining the value of the Jordanian Dinar and our reserve levels of gold, at more than USD13 billion, and foreign currencies. Our current cache of foreign, hard currency is enough to cover Jordan’s imports for about seven months. This would not have been possible had it not been for the savvy and well-rounded policies of the Central Bank.

We need to give credit, really, where credit is due.

Meanwhile, economists and experts confirm that the Gulf aid will help Jordan in a number of ways. Chief of which is insuring access to loans and credit facilities at low interest costs. This greatly lowers the interest-credit service costs for the treasury, at least for the next few years.

Additionally, a significant amount of the aid, will go directly to supporting the Treasury’s budget, for five years.

That said, we need to put aside the discussion on the package’s overall value and remind ourselves that these three Gulf states have made an initiative to support Jordan’s economy, directly.

Actual, practical steps were taken to support Jordan, make no mistake.

Many of our friends and allies have done next to nothing to support Jordan, compared to this.

Above all, we need to remind ourselves of this particular reality.

The second reality, for a fact, that we need to realise, is that this aid is not at all an alternative to economic reforms. They shouldn’t be.

We need, however, to go beyond the conventional, reinterring approach to actually founding economic solutions that do not further compromise the middle, fixed and low income classes.

Does this support come at a political price?

So far, we haven’t heard a single statement by a Gulf official even insinuating such a thing.

For years Jordan has been receiving aid from Gulf countries, through a variety of conditions, in the context of a historical alliance that stretches far into our common history. Not once has the Gulf aid reflected on Jordan’s stances, domestically or regionally, in any way.

Gulf investments in Jordan are estimated to be worth billions, and are growing. Those were never affected by the political variables in the equation. Hundreds of thousands of Jordanians still work in the Gulf, and they are clearly not targeted by the new labour nationalisation policies there; not in Saudi, not in Qatar, nor in any other Gulf state.

There is a lot of talk relating this initiative to the self-proclaimed Deal of the Century, regarding the liquidation of the Palestinian Cause.

Not a single clause of it was disclosed, except for some leaks that were never officially confirmed.

In any way, the Deal is not for Jordan or Saudi to accept or deny.

The Palestinians are the ones who will decide, and they lack not the courage to refuse the Deal, if it does not accommodate the national interests of the Palestinians.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.