Jordan: PM and EBRD meet
[Jordan's] Prime Minister-designate Abdullah Ensour and President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti on Sunday discussed ways to boost ongoing cooperation between the Kingdom and the bank.
Chakrabarti arrived in Amman on Sunday for a two-day visit after the EBRD officially launched its operations in the country. He is scheduled to meet with several Jordanian officials to examine cooperation with the Kingdom.
At the meeting, Ensour highlighted economic challenges facing Jordan, pointing out that the Kingdom currently has large financial responsibilities as a result of the large number of Syrian refugees who have entered the country over the past two years, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.
The humanitarian needs of the ever-increasing number of Syrian refugees surpass Jordan’s capabilities, Ensour told the EBRD president and the accompanying delegation during the meeting, which was attended by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan.
Chakrabarti said the opening of an EBRD Amman office will help support high priority projects that aim to provide solutions to the unemployment problem, stressing the EBRD’s readiness to further support small-scale enterprises.
In this regard, he highlighted the possibility of cooperating with the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation as well as collaboration with the private sector regarding development projects in the governorates.
EBRD president praised the Kingdom’s efforts in dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis, despite its accompanying economic difficulties. He also commended the Kingdom’s education and health sectors.
Also on Sunday, Hassan held a meeting with Chakrabarti at which he highlighted the country’s drive towards reform and challenges, especially the energy bill, highlighting efforts to implement renewable energy projects.
According to Hassan, the EBRD has allocated a 1-billion-euro investment fund to support projects in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco and Jordan and is working to increase the amount to 2.5 billion euros in order to assist the implementation of investment projects in these countries. He noted that 80 per cent of the bank’s operations are directed to the private sector.
The EBRD opened a permanent office in Amman in February. The operational focus of the bank is on the financial sector, energy efficiency, financing private sector organisations and infrastructure projects.
In related news, on Sunday Hassan met with a UN delegation and briefed them on the challenges facing Jordan in light of the large influx of Syrian refugees. The delegates expressed their understanding of the resulting pressures, noting that the international community should help meet the needs of refugee-host countries.