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US ambassador commends Jordan’s progress in IMF economic reviews

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — The completion of the fifth economic review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) between Jordan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is “a great success” for Jordan, which is the largest recipient of US aid in the world, US Ambassador to Jordan Henry T. Wooster said on Sunday.
 
“Concluding five of the reviews under the EFF suggests that if you have passed five of them so far, you have all the hope for passing the remaining three reviews,” Wooster said during a meeting with media representatives.
 
“Any progress with the IMF is a net positive,” the ambassador said.
 
The review is a recognition of current efforts to improve the health of the Jordanian economy, he said, adding that Jordan has been embarking on several reforms to improve the ease of doing business, and create opportunities for the economy to grow, among others.
 
Jordan’s four-year EFF of SDR 926.37 million (about $1.3 billion, equivalent to 270 per cent of Jordan’s quota in the IMF), was approved by the IMF’s board on March 25, 2020.
 
Wooster said the signing of an agreement on Sunday to transfer $845.1 million to the Jordanian government, which marks the last cash transfer under the 2018-2022 memorandum of understanding (MoU) totalling $6.30 billion, is a testimony to the US’ continued support to Jordan’s stability and economy.
 
In September, Jordan and the US signed the Fourth Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership totalling $10.15 billion, under which the US will provide $1.45 billion per year in bilateral foreign assistance to Jordan beginning in Fiscal Year 2023 and ending in Fiscal Year 2029.
 
“Together, the 2018 MoU and the new MoU signed by our governments in September equates to the largest US economic development assistance programme in the world,” said the ambassador.
 
Under the 2023-2029 deal, Jordan will receive $610 million in cash transfer, $350 million for development programmes, $400 million for security assistance and $75 million for key priorities areas that Jordan has identified, such as water and the public sector, each year during the MoU period, according to Wooster.
 
 “In this region, there is no better partner for the US,” he said.
 
Jordan, in spite of many challenges, has provided extraordinary public good, he added.
 
“Jordan, which roughly has 30 per cent of the population in refugee status, has been providing extraordinary public good for years, and this puts enormous strain on any country, so it is putting enormous strain on the economy of Jordan,” he said.
 
“We have been supporting Jordan for seven decades now,” Wooster added, stressing his belief that the relationship will continue.
 
“For the US, we want to get Jordan through the various challenges…the intent for us is that Jordan has the capacities, has the economic growth and has the public sector efficiencies,” the envoy said.
 
The ambassador renewed US support for regional economic integration projects, including a tripartite project for which Jordan, the UAE and Israel have signed a MoU earlier this month to continue feasibility studies for two interconnected projects to establish a water desalination station at the Red Sea (Prosperity Blue), in return for establishing a clean electric power generation plant in Jordan (Prosperity Green).
 
For decades, US foreign policy has held regional economic integration as a strategic objective, he said.
 
“This is the least integrated region on earth…we know that integrated regions do better… Record shows that integrated regions are more independent, economically stronger with much less possibility for warfare. Thus, we are very supportive of such projects,” he said.
 

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