USAID LENS expanded to Tafilah governorate (population 91,400/businesses 1,709) in late 2015. Unlike the governorates of Amman, Irbid and Zarqa which account for 77.3% of registered businesses in Jordan, and have denser and more diverse economies, Tafilah has a much smaller business community that is more focused on fulfilling local needs and less on revenue coming from outside the local communities. This is illustrated in the fact that retail is the biggest sector, accounting for almost 60% of businesses. Amman in comparison, which has a more robust economy, retail accounts for only 37.4% of businesses.
USAID LENS Work
USAID LENS initial engagement in Tafilah has uncovered opportunities around three major clusters that can increase revenues for local businesses and provide pockets of economic growth: the university cluster, the Dana tourism cluster, and Hasa Road services cluster.The Tafilah Technical University attracts 6,000+ students (local, Jordanian, and foreign) that inject revenue to the local economy through housing, food/beverage, retail, transportation and other goods/services. USAID LENS is exploring ways to improve understanding of this market, inform cluster and MSE vision, and facilitate growth.
The Dana Reserve counts 10,000+ visits and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) counts 6,000+ overnight stays each year. Initial conversations with RSCN identified a need to strengthen local micro enterprises to broaden offerings of primary (local experiences) and secondary services (laundry, food, etc.).
The Hasa Road services cluster seeks to leverage the valuable roadside position to lure travelers to stop, shop, eat, buy services, and more. This will entail understanding target customers and framing an attractive opportunity based on profile and needs.
Conducted a supply mapping of the Tafilah Technical University cluster and identified 184 businesses with a total of 349 full-time and part-time employees. This will help to determine potential interventions to support local businesses in this cluster.