Special place or special zone? The future of Aqaba

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    Aqaba is a small city at the southern tip of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that is within the margin of the desert and the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba. In 2000, the small city was declared by the Jordanian government to of a Special Economic Zone which means that it would be a preferred tax- and duty-free site to attract investment and international businesses. Birds can be seen during springtime which pass northward over Aqaba to go to their breeding grounds in Europe and Asia. It has also been 100 millenia that people come and go at this place which comes in as a strategic intersection of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Aqaba had 10,000 inhabitants in the 1970s and had a busy port to handle potash for export and incoming goods for Jordan. The small city had 85,000 of people by the twenty-first century. During the late 1990s, the country struggled and suffered as its standard of living declined due to budget deficit, high external debt and unemployment, increasing regional and global competition, and limited natural resources and local markets. Then, Aqaba had its City Center Mall which is 18,000sq.m of lot area to attract visitors from Amman. Aqaba's story is not just about itself but rather it is more about the other places in Jordan that might be modeled upon it that are also to become as special economic zones.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Specialist publicationWorld Watch
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development


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