His Majesty King Abdullah and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Tuesday attended the signing ceremony of an agreement between the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and the Crown Prince Foundation (CPF).
The agreement aims at supporting creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and development projects in the Kingdom, according to a Royal Court statement.
Under the agreement, the fund presents up to $100 million to the CPF, through several payments, to be given as soft loans for entrepreneurs, start-ups and their micro-, small- and medium-sized development projects, in a bid to enable entrepreneurship schemes to contribute to boosting the national economy and realise socioeconomic development.
The deal with the CPF comes in light of the foundation’s targeting of thousands of young people across the Kingdom and its keenness on developing the youth’s capabilities to better serve their communities, the statement said.
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The CPF’s strategy focuses on three main pillars: skills, innovation and entrepreneurship; leadership and youth excellence; and giving and community service.
The agreement was signed by Fund Chairman Hussain Jassim Al Nowais and CPF Chairman of the Board of Trustees Fawwaz Zou’bi.
Following the signing ceremony, Nowais said that the deal highlights the “deep-rooted brotherly ties” between the UAE and Jordan, stressing that Sheikh Mohammad always underlined the importance of supporting the Kingdom and enabling it to build a strong base for a diverse and sustainable economy that can contribute to more prosperity.
He added that the loan aims at supporting efforts geared towards addressing poverty and unemployment as well as enhancing women’s roles in the development process through providing them with opportunities to realise their aspirations and establish their own projects to enhance national economy revenues.
The fund chairman also said that the assistance aims at contributing to the development of rural areas and underprivileged regions across the Kingdom.
Nowais pointed out that the agreement targets some 22,000 projects over five years, expecting these schemes to provide approximately 28,000 permanent jobs for Jordanian young people, in addition to its indirect positive impact on the national economy in general.
He said that the agreement allocated 47 per cent of the total support to women, while rural areas and underprivileged regions’ share was set at 40 per cent, expecting the start of disbursing payments soon after concluding all legal procedures in both countries.
For his part, Zu’bi commended the support the UAE presents to the Kingdom in all fields, especially on the economic and development levels.
He stressed that the agreement is an important step forward in further expanding cooperation with the UAE through the fund, which is considered a regional and international pioneering institution in the fields of promoting and enhancing entrepreneurship.
Zu’bi expected this development loan to contribute to enhancing government efforts aimed at funding economic institutions that can support and enhance the economic stability of the Kingdom in the next phase, and address poverty and unemployment.
He said that the loan has several development dimensions whose positive effects can be seen within five years, especially since the loan has soft conditions and high flexibility for repayment.
Khalifa Fund was established in June 2007, as an independent, not-for-profit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) socioeconomic development agency by the government of Abu Dhabi, according to their website.
“Since 2014, Khalifa Fund started expanding its horizon and replicating its model in several regional and international countries to develop SME sectors to be the catalysts for economic growth in these countries,” the website says.
The CPF was established under special law that was endorsed in 2015 to implement HRH Crown Prince Hussein’s vision towards building a bright future for Jordan’s youth by inspiring and driving their engagement to improve community well-being in three main aspects: Innovation and entrepreneurship; leadership and participation; giving and community service.