Jordan and The United States signed at the Ministry of Planning four grant agreements amounting to $247.5 million in economic assistance funds. The agreements constitute the overall regular U.S. economic assistance package to Jordan for fiscal year 2006.
Under the agreements, the U.S. will support the Government of Jordan’s programs in the areas of water, health, education, governance and economic opportunities.
Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Suhair Al-Ali signed on behalf of the kingdom whereas American Ambassador David Hale and Mission Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Anne Aarnes signed on behalf of the U.S. Government.
Under the first grant agreement, the U.S. will provide $37.722 million to enhance economic growth and create more job opportunities for Jordanians. This grant will assist Jordanian small and medium enterprises capitalize on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements signed with Jordan to spur trade and increase exports.
According to Petra, the funds will also be used to provide broader Jordan-wide access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services, as well as upgrade tourist facilities and strengthen private investment in the tourism industry. Other activities include working with universities to offer entrepreneurship and leadership development courses and improve their links with the private sector.
Under the second agreement, the United States will provide $45.095 million to support the Jordanian government’s initiatives to increase the water supply, improve management of water resources, and increase residential access to better sanitation. Construction projects funded through this grant include the Northern Governorates' fresh water carrier, a wastewater treatment plant in Tafilah, and wastewater treatment plants for small communities in Shobak and North Shouneh.
Under the third grant agreement, the U.S. will provide a total of $46.955 million to fund projects in the health, education and governance sectors. The grant includes $16.985 million for improving primary and reproductive health services in public clinics and hospitals, encouraging family planning, and promoting healthy lifestyles behavior.
The grant will also provide $14.985 million to fund projects within the education sector, with special emphasis on encouraging the use of IT in teaching and learning. Specific activities include constructing and equipping new schools; renovating and equipping kindergarten classrooms to improve early childhood education; improving secondary school education to provide students with the skills needed to compete in today’s job market; and training of teachers. Finally, $14.985 million will be used to support initiatives aimed at strengthening civil society to promote philanthropy and encourage civic participation; strengthening journalism; and improving the legal system.
Under the fourth agreement, the U.S. will direct $117.5 million in balance of payments support that will enable the Government of Jordan to reduce its foreign debt burden and strengthen its foreign exchange reserves.