Jordan, World Bank sign three deals worth $854m

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh (first right) is seen during a virtual ceremony to sign deals with the World Bank on Tuesday. (Photo: Petra)
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh (first right) is seen during a virtual ceremony to sign deals with the World Bank on Tuesday. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN –– The government and the World Bank Tuesday signed three agreements to finance priority projects in Jordan with a total value of about $853.75 million.اضافة اعلان

The agreements, announced last month, aim to support the government’s efforts in the field of social protection, implement the economic reform agenda, propel economic recovery by supporting the continuity of employment programs and the creation of job opportunities in the private sector and support the improvement of the business and investment environment, according to a Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation press release, cited by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The agreements were signed virtually by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh and Regional Director of the Mashreq Department at the World Bank Group, Saroj Kumar Jha, in the presence of the World Bank's Resident Representative in Jordan, Holly Benner.

The new financing aims to support government efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the various sectors, stimulate growth, and help the various affected sectors and groups to overcome the repercussions of the crisis, Shraideh said.

The first agreement included an additional financing of $290 million for the cash transfer project to respond to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which aims to finance part of the mitigating measures to enhance social protection that were recently announced by the Council of Ministers, and includes financing the supplementary support program for the National Aid Fund's monthly aid program by JD100 million for 2021 through the public treasury.

In addition, it will be used to finance the government’s contribution to the job sustainability program (Estidama) until the end of the year at a cost of JD115 million, which is implemented in cooperation with the Social Security Corporation, where the implementation period has been extended until the end of the year.

According to the statement, this program aims to enable the affected sectors to sustain employment opportunities. It also includes funding of JD50 million that targets an additional 60,000 households benefiting from the temporary cash support program (Takaful 3) for the year 2021 through the National Aid Fund, where the program aims to provide cash for families in need and impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, especially the families of day laborers in the unorganized (informal) sector.

As for the second agreement, it includes additional funding of about $64 million to help the government finance the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus, as well as a grant of about $14 million provided by the global concessional financing mechanism, and $50 million in the form of a soft loan provided by the World Bank.

The third agreement, worth $500 million, will be implemented over five years with the aim of stimulating public and private investment in Jordan to achieve recovery from the pandemic. This program is expected to help Jordan accelerate economic recovery and create more job opportunities through utilizing its economic potentials, especially green growth opportunities.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is also currently preparing an additional financing of $250 million to support this program, the ministry said.

This funding is tied to the government's implementation of a number of reform indicators connected to improving the investment climate and stimulating economic growth responsive to climate change, in line with the Jordanian reform matrix.

The World Bank’s portfolio in the Kingdom, until July 2021, within the bank's country partnership framework, for the period 2017-2022, amounted to $3.25 billion, distributed over about 15 development projects that include a combination of concessional financing and grants.

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