The United States granted Jordan $43.8 million to bolster its water sector, as part of an overall $150 million in economic aid for 2001, the embassy said in a statement Monday, April 30.
The funds will be used to "develop and implement urgently needed water projects ... (as) part of on-going initiatives to improve water resource management in Jordan, which now totals $351 million ", it said.
They will specifically "help finance the design and construction of infrastructure to improve water supply and distribution systems", the statement said, adding that the grant agreement was signed on Sunday.
Jordan is one of the world's 10 poorest countries in terms of water resources and has been the victim of a drought since 1996 but Amman is now moving forward with several projects to become water sufficient.
On April 19 the United States gave Jordan a grant of $37.7 million in the first batch of the $150 million Washington has pledged to Amman for 2001.
That part of the assistance was allocated to fight poverty and unemployment in Jordan, which according to independent estimates affect 25 percent of the population and to finance projects supporting the kingdom's economic reforms.
The United States also gives Jordan military aid, which over the past three years has ranged from between $50 and $75 million annually.
The two countries signed a free trade agreement last October aimed at boosting US investment in Jordan. The agreement still needs to be approved by the US Congress. — (AFP, Amman)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)