Emergency cash transfers reduced Jordan COVID-19 poverty by 4.5% — World Bank

World Bank
The World Bank building in Washington, DC, June 29, 2011. (Photo: NYTimes)
AMMAN —The World Bank has indicated that the Jordan Emergency Cash Transfer COVID-19 Response program, launched by the Jordanian government to support families affected by the pandemic in 2020, has reduced by about 4.5 percent an expected increase in poverty rates across the Kingdom, according to Al-Mamlaka TV.اضافة اعلان

According to a World Bank report on financing the program, poverty in Jordan was relatively high even before the pandemic and had increased significantly since then. According to 2019 data the official poverty rate was estimated at 15.7 percent.

The World Bank’s report also stated that early estimates made last year indicated that the potential short-term increase in the national poverty rate may rise by 11 percent due to the loss of employment and income for families.

The report, according to Al-Mamlaka TV, also noted that many non-poor families were closer to the poverty line and were at risk of falling into poverty, as families who depend on informal work have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

The absolute poverty rate among Jordanians reached 15.7 percent, representing 1.069 million Jordanians, while the extreme hunger and poverty rates in Jordan was 0.12 percent, equivalent to 7,993 Jordanian individuals, according to the latest survey on family income and expenditures carried out by the Department of Statistics (2017–2018).

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Al-Shraideh, estimated the poverty rate in Jordan at 24 percent; an increase of about 6 percent due to the repercussions of the COVID-19.

On June 25, 2020, the World Bank approved the first phase of a $374 million cash transfer project to provide cash assistance to 270,000 poor families in Jordan.

And on June 2021, the World Bank pledged to provide additional financing for a cash transfer project of $290 million aimed at helping families and workers who were affected by the repercussions of the COVID-19 thus, raising the total value of the project to $664 million.

Additional financing for the project

The World Bank is considering providing a second additional funding amounting to $322 million, for an emergency cash transfer project for families and workers affected by the COVID pandemic in Jordan. This will raise the total funding for the project to $986 million if the new financing is approved.

According to Al-Mamlaka TV, additional financing for the project is still under study, and it is expected to be approved by the bank's board of directors on February 24, 2022.

The Emergency Cash Transfer COVID-19 Response program, which was approved for the National Aid Fund, aims at providing cash support to poor and vulnerable families and workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis in Jordan. The program is part of the government’s “Takaful 3” and “Istidama” programs, which targets about 160,000 families within the framework of the “Takaful” program and more than 100,000 workers within the framework of the “Estidama” program.

The additional financing modified the duration of the project, extending the original loan closing date by 12 months (from December 31, 2023, to December 31, 2024). 

The World Bank had said that the Jordanian government is working on a plan to integrate all cash transfers under the Takaful umbrella to support poor and vulnerable families in the post-pandemic stage, as emergency programs will be stopped in 2022. It will be augmented by an increase in the state budget and increase the number of beneficiaries under the supplementary support program by more than 30,000 families.

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