AMMAN — A senior World Bank official said that the bank has set out five priorities to help the Kingdom at a time when regional developments, mainly the war in Syria and the situation in Iraq, are reflecting on the Jordanian economy.
World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem said that the priorities that he had defined following his meeting with Prime Minister Hani Mulqi and a number of ministers and officials, include education, infrastructure and investments in this sector, governance, improving government services, enhancing the business environment for the private sector and ensuring the presence of an effective social safety network.
He stressed in a press meeting on the sidelines of his visit to Jordan, that the conflict in the region affected trade exchange between Jordan and Iraq and Syria. “The decline in oil prices also negatively affected the volume of investments from Gulf Arab countries as well as remittances of Jordanians abroad,” Ghanem added.
“Jordan is addressing all these challenges, and at the same time is hosting some 1.4 million Syrian refugees, who have negative impact on job opportunities for Jordanians and Syrians alike,” he said.
The WB official described Jordan as an important and a major partner of the bank, noting that the bank works to increase and strengthen this partnership.
Ghanem said that the World Bank’s portfolio in Jordan stands at USD750 million, including a USD300 million project that began last summer and extends for 5 years to improve the business environment and develop Qualified Industrial Zones. Other projects include assisting medium, small and micro valued at USD120 million, improving the energy and water sectors and a health project worth USD150 expected to be approved soon.
He also spoke about a USD50 million project with the Central Bank of Jordan to finance emerging companies and increase allocations for the support programs of municipalities hosting refugees from USD60 million to USD120 million.
On economic growth rate in the Kingdom, Ghanem expected that it will reach 2.5 percent this year and a slight rise over the coming two years, noting that this percentage is not accepted for the government to create job opportunities. “Foe this reason, there is a focus on increasing investments in infrastructure, to include the sectors of transport, roads, electricity, water and communications,” he added.