World Bank extends $350m to Jordan’s COVID-19 response

1. World Bank
World Bank. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The World Bank on Tuesday approved $350 million additional financing for Jordan’s COVID-19 response project to continue cash support to poor and vulnerable households and workers in firms most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.اضافة اعلان

The bank said in a statement that cash transfers give poor and vulnerable households money for their basic needs, so they can channel whatever else they possess into health and education, and develop human capital.

The second additional financing will also help the government launch reforms that would help advance an economic empowerment program that aims to integrate poorer sections of the country’s population into the labor market. This will provide more sustainable economic opportunities for project beneficiaries, the bank said in the statement.

According to the World Bank, the project will continue to strengthen Jordan’s overall social protection system and support the government efforts to achieve an effective COVID-19 crisis response and resilient recovery. The additional financing will also improve the cost-effectiveness of government social safety net programs, such as the National Unified Registry, which will function as a single gateway for access to a range of social services and programs. Use of the platform will reduce the cost of administering social assistance.

“The additional financing will support the government’s efforts to bring several cash transfer programs together under the Unified Cash Transfer program” said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Naser Shraideh.

“Programs funded by the project will also contribute to building shock-responsive social protection and will support the government’s efforts to recover from the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis,” he added.

According to Mashreq Regional Director World Bank Group Saroj Kumar Jha, “the additional financing will support poor and vulnerable households and workers who are still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.” Adding that: “The project is also supporting continued reforms of Jordan’s social protection system, which has been strengthened through the crisis and is becoming a model in the region and globally in digitization, information management, efficiency, and in providing links to economic opportunities and empowerment.”

The bank’s additional support will also partially finance the extension of the Istidama program. The Jordanian government launched Istidama in December 2020 to provide wage subsidies to 110,000 formal workers in firms most affected by the pandemic, a move that protected workers from loss of income while keeping firms solvent and operational. As many firms are still struggling to pay wages, the government has decided to extend Istidama until June 2022.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has used over $157 billion to fight the health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery.

The bank is also supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines. It is making $20 billion in financing available for this purpose until the end of 2022.

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