US’ $1.6 billion financial support will help Jordan’s economy

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(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — The US senate approved $1.650 billion in financial support for Jordan for 2022, the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation said in a press statement; aid that will help the country overcome challenges like unemployment and general budget deficit, according to economists.اضافة اعلان

In the statement, Minister Nasser Shraideh thanked the US government and senate for the funding, which will support the Kingdom’s development and reform programs.

Shraideh said that the aid was given in light of challenges the Kingdom’s economy has to face because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh told Jordan News that the financial support will boost the economic development of the Kingdom, support women and youth enterprises and help Jordan deal with economic challenges.

Priority should be given to combating unemployment more efficiently, especially in the governorates, Makhamreh said, adding that joblessness reached 24 percent, in general, and 50 percent among young people.

He called for supporting strategic projects that enhance food and water security, such as the National Water Desalination and Conveyance Project.

Economist Mohammad Bashir said that the Jordanian economy is “suffering” as unemployment, the general budget deficit, and imbalances in the balance of trade are increasing.

Bashir called for directing the funds to capital spending and establishing projects that enhance productivity.

For Zayan Zawaneh, another economist, the aid package is a “decent amount of funds”, especially in light of the shortage of resources.

Zawaneh said that more planning is needed to invest the funds in job-generating projects that would help mitigate the impact of economic challenges.

Some Arab countries that used to financially support Jordan are currently dealing with their own challenges, which caused their aid to Jordan to stop, said Zawaneh.

On Thursday, Shraideh met with USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman and discussed the US aid program for Jordan and future cooperation.

During the meeting, Shraideh praised the US support for the Kingdom, and stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on further cooperation, mentioning the memorandum of understanding on aid to Jordan for 2023 and on, to be signed “soon”.

Shraideh presented a briefing on preparations and measures taken to implement the National Water Desalination and Conveyance Project, pointing out the Jordanian government’s role in supporting the project to address water shortages and supply water to people at better prices.

Shraideh also briefed Coleman on the economic reforms that are part of the Economic Reform Matrix 2018–2024 and reviewed the government’s economic reform program for 2021–2023, which will focus on stimulating the private sector to generate more jobs for Jordanians, especially women and young people, and supporting the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to improving the national social security programs.

The meeting also addressed the Syrian refugee crisis and how the international support to host countries has decreased, although the crisis is still going on, putting pressure on the national economy and the labor market, and consuming infrastructure, resources and public services.

Shraideh urged the international community to share part of the responsibility for the Syrian refugees.

According to the USAID website, the agency is currently supporting dozens of projects in the Kingdom in the fields of democracy, rights, governance, economy and energy development, water resources and environment, education and youth, population and family health, and women’s empowerment.

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