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Int’l lenders, donors to finalise support initiative to region next month

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 23,2016 - Last updated at Mar 23,2016

AMMAN — Jordan is still negotiating with the World Bank to obtain hundreds of millions in loans for the upcoming 12 to 18 months, Imad Fakhoury, minister of Planning and International Cooperation, said.

Fakhoury explained that the amount Jordan is negotiating is not decided yet, but it might reach $500 million to cover 12 to 18 months.

In response to a question by The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a press conference held on Tuesday, the minister noted that this loan is part of the new strategy that the World Bank will follow in dealing with the “upper-middle” income countries like Jordan and Lebanon that have been affected with the regional crises.

“Obtaining loans with low interest for countries with this classification is the outcome of Jordan’s pursuit of the change in the rules of lending made in 2014 and 2015,” Fakhoury said, adding that the World Bank has already announced $100 million in direct concessional financing to create jobs and increase access to education in Jordan. The same amount has been approved to Lebanon, according to the minister.

However, he said, a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that will take place this April in Washington will present details of the news support initiative. Representatives of donors will also attend the meeting.

The initiative was announced at a similar meeting in Lima, Peru, last October, and it seeks to scale up financing in the MENA region to help countries hosting significant refugee populations, and those impacted by conflict, as well as nations that have significant investment needs to achieve economic recovery. 

Early next week and prior to April’s meeting, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Jordan.

“The joint visit aims to communicate the international community’s commitment to supporting the region as it copes with the consequences of conflict and instability, and to strengthen the growing inter-organisation partnerships,” said a World Bank statement.

During their visit to Jordan, which hosts more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees, Kim and Ki-moon will visit refugees and host communities. 

 

“The visit will also focus on addressing widespread youth unemployment through improving the quality and relevance of education, and promoting economic empowerment and opportunities,” according to the World Bank’s statement.

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