Jordan gets US $300M from World Bank to fight poverty

The World Bank’s executive directors endorsed on January 22, 2003 a new business plan and a US $305 million lending package aimed at fighting poverty and unemployment in Jordan.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  January 26, 2003

The World Bank’s executive directors endorsed on January 22, 2003 a new business plan and a US $305 million lending package aimed at fighting poverty and unemployment in Jordan.

The new country assistance strategy (CAS) for Jordan contains a mix of lending and advisory services that focus on education and public sector reform, as well as other national development priorities for the fiscal years 2003-2005.

With a population of 4.9 million, Jordan’s relatively small and open economy is vulnerable to the geopolitics of the region and constrained by a growing population and limited natural resources. Unemployment and underemployment remain high, and deep pockets of poverty persist. Official estimates place poverty in Jordan at 12%. “While its economy has shown resilience in the face of escalating regional tensions with a 4.7% growth over the last two years, this growth has not translated into a proportionate increase in jobs or poverty reduction,” the World Bank in a statement.

The bank went on to say,” On the human development front, Jordan’s achievements over the past 30 years have been impressive with significant progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”
The increase in life expectancy at birth to 70 years and adult literacy to 90 percent was noted, as was the decline in infant mortality, which fell by nearly 50%.

To address the multiple challenges of achieving higher growth to eliminate poverty, improving public services and addressing resource constraints such as water, Jordan announced a poverty strategy last year and launched a program for social and economic transformation. The new CAS complements the government’s efforts to fight poverty by adopting four main objectives: promoting human development, improving governance through public sector reform, enhancing conditions for growth led by the private sector, addressing resource conservation, exploitation and management with a focus on water, and gender inclusion in development planning and analysis.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with Jordan in implementing the CAS. Reflecting a close strategic partnership, the CAS is a dynamic process aimed at deploying a variety of instruments to further our shared commitment to sustain growth and prevent poverty,” said Joe Saba, country director for Jordan.
The Bank’s lending will concentrate on education reform for a knowledge economy and public sector reform, which together will account for more than 75% of the loan package.

Technical assistance and advisory services will focus on policy and skills building in the areas of water, education and pension reform.
The International Finance Corporation, the private investment arm of the World Bank Group, will play an active role in Jordan under the new CAS, with plans to support export-oriented sectors and invest in the financial sectors, infrastructure development and information technology.

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