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EBRD's new country strategy taps into Jordan's energy resources, human capital


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Board of Directors has approved the bank’s new 2020-2025 country strategy for Jordan.
According to an EBRD statement shared with The Jordan Times, the strategy prioritises promoting economic inclusion, further developing sustainable municipal infrastructure and green energy and diversifying access to finance and fostering innovation in order to strengthen competitiveness and resilience.
The statement stressed the Kingdom’s strong efforts in recent years to advance reforms towards a sustainable market economy.
At the same time, the statement noted, the country was confronted with unprecedented challenges due to the refugee crisis in the Middle East. 
Today, approximately 1.4 million Syrian refugees are registered in Jordan, causing a "serious strain" on basic services and infrastructure.
With international support, Jordan is addressing further resulting issues, such as pressure on the job market and the development of small businesses. 
Compared with their peers, Jordanian businesses are "lagging behind" in competitiveness. Trade imbalances and regional instability further affect the country’s economic performance, the statement said.
One of the main goals of the EBRD’s engagement in Jordan in recent years has been to reduce the country’s dependency on the import of energy. 
With renewable energy sources maturing and becoming competitive in a market environment, "today Jordan is in a better position than ever before to make commercial use of its abundance of solar energy", according to the statement.
It stressed that the new strategy will support the country in these efforts, strengthening renewable energy storage and power transmission, as well as continuing to reform the road map of the National Electricity and Power Company.
The new strategy will see the roll-out of the EBRD Green Cities framework to tackle the most pressing challenges related to the environment and climate change.
"It builds on our experience with the Greater Amman Municipality [GAM] through projects in solid waste and wastewater management, urban roads, transport and lighting, as well as energy efficiency in public buildings," the statement read.
The bank will also put more emphasis on supporting young people, women and people with disabilities, helping create more job opportunities through developing the skill sets of these groups, and enhancing access to finance and essential services, according to the statement.
The EBRD began its operations in Jordan in 2012 and is helping to support sustainable energy, finance private enterprises and promote infrastructure reform. Since the start of its operations in the country, the bank has invested almost 1.5 billion euros across 50 projects in Jordan, of which 73 per cent are in the private sector, the statement concluded.

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