The meeting will largely be a diplomatic formality, with the two leaders expected to discuss a host of issues, including economic cooperation. As it stands, Germany is Jordan’s largest European trading partner, but the relationship is lopsided—in 2016, German exports totalled over $800 million, compared to Jordan’s $27 million.
King Abdullah will also likely seek an aid pledge from Germany, one of his country’s largest donors. Indeed, Jordan is currently embroiled in an economic crisis, with debt totalling some 96% of the country’s GDP and unemployment over 18%. Amman’s austerity measures, which have now been dialled back, sparked a political crisis that saw mass protests break out.
While the demonstrations have eased for now, they could quickly resurface. Indeed, Jordan has little choice but to undertake unpopular austerity measures to address its debt, while the presence of some 650,000 Syrian refugees further burdens its strained economy. With Jordan a rare bastion of stability in a volatile region, watch for aid packages from Germany and other western countries to ensure the country remains that way.
Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.