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US, UK, Spain sign trilateral donor agreement to boost NAF’s support of vulnerable Jordanians

By JT - Jun 19,2020 - Last updated at Jun 20,2020

USAID, the UK Department for International Development, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation have signed an agreement to expand support for vulnerable Jordanians (Photo courtesy of Planning Ministry)

AMMAN — The US Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation have signed an agreement to expand support for vulnerable Jordanians, particularly those severely impacted by economic strains resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said that the US government has formally committed an initial $20 million, while the British government has committed $6.17 million to help support vulnerable families in Jordan affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the government of Spain has signed on as the third donor under the agreement.

The multi-donor account will be managed by Jordan’s National Aid Fund (NAF), which helps the most underprivileged Jordanians who are struggling to make ends meet. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has created growing demands on the NAF to expand emergency cash assistance — as well as allowances to cover transportation and electricity — for the most vulnerable segments of Jordanian society.

"We are grateful to the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain for their generous and invaluable support towards this multi-donor account, which reflects a true understanding of the mounting challenges facing Jordan in light of regional crises, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Jordanian economy," Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi said.

"This joint financing arrangement came following a positive assessment by the donor group of the social protection schemes implemented by the Government of Jordan, which will further strengthen our national system and assist our efforts towards self-reliance,” he commented in the statement.

“The overarching purpose of this programme is to expand and improve the poverty-targetted social assistance programmes operated by the National Aid Fund and strengthen their ability to respond to emergencies, including the COVID-19 crisis, with the ultimate goal of alleviating the effects of poverty in Jordan. Moving forward, we aspire to further strengthen this partnership by encouraging other donors and international partners to join this effort," the minister added.

For his part, USAID Mission Director Jim Barnhart said: "The joint financing arrangement for the NAF establishes the third such multi-donor fund to accelerate Jordan's path toward self-reliance by working through Jordan’s governmental system, rather than funding a parallel international structure."

"It proves that even in moments of crisis, we in the international community should remain committed to ensuring our host country partners are strengthened by our assistance," he added.

UK Minister for the Middle East James Cleverly noted: "The UK is committed to supporting Jordan, one of our closest allies, to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will bolster Jordan’s existing social systems to support poor and vulnerable Jordanians most affected by the crisis. The support will mainly help women and girls, who are most in need of assistance."

"The Spanish government believes that a coordinated response to COVID-19 is required in order to jointly and successfully overcome the consequences of this global pandemic and be efficient. From this perspective, we are devoting our efforts to joining common initiatives like this one, based on solidarity and aligning resources behind Jordan’s leadership in order to achieve a real impact,” Spain's Ambassador to Jordan Aranzazu Banon Davalos stated.

“Spain, as part of the EU, and as close and committed partner to Jordan, firmly believes that working together with other donors and the Government of Jordan is the best way forward in order to be successful in the common endeavour to overcome the crisis leaving no one behind," the envoy was quoted in the statement as saying.

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