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World Bank loans to Jordan should become grants — Harper

By JT - Jun 04,2014 - Last updated at Jun 04,2014

AMMAN — UNHCR representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper, on Wednesday urged the World Bank to turn the loans extended to Jordan to address the Syrian refugee burden to grants.

His remarks came as World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim visited Zaatari Refugee Camp near Mafraq, around 80km northeast Amman. 

The World Bank in March approved a $250 million loan to help the Kingdom deal with the influx of Syrian refugees.

­Harper described Jordan’s response to the refugee challenges as a “model” for the entire world.

He said the international community should do more to help Jordan overcome the refugee challenge, especially as more than 80 per cent of the 600,000 Syrian refugees live in local communities.

Only around 110,000 Syrians live in the Zaatari and Azraq camps, while the rest concentrate in northern and east-northern towns like Irbid and Mafraq. 

Harper praised  Jordan’s commitment to opening refugee camps and providing the best services to Syrians fleeing a long,drawn-out civil war, making reference to the recent inauguration of Azraq Refugee Camp.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Ibrahim Saif said that Kim’s visit “sheds light on the repercussions of the refugee crisis on the Jordanian economy”. 

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