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Germany pledges over 500m euros in aid to Jordan

By Rana Husseini - Nov 08,2017 - Last updated at Nov 08,2017

Minister Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury and representatives of the German and Jordanian governments hold annual cooperation negotiations in Amman on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Planning Ministry)

AMMAN — Germany on Tuesday pledged to provide Jordan with over 575 million euros in assistance to respond to the Kingdom’s development needs and support the Syrian refugees in Jordan.

The announcement came following the conclusion of the German-Jordanian annual government negotiations on the bilateral development cooperation that saw the attendance of several German government officials and entities and Jordanian ministers and public entities.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury said that Germany has been increasing its support to the Kingdom over the years, adding that this year’s support amounts to “576.83 million euros and is expected to meet the needs of Jordan’s development, as well as those of the refugees and host communities”.

“The increase in support by Germany reflects its strong commitment to continue assisting the Kingdom at these difficult times and also reflects Germany’s understanding of the fiscal, economic and security challenges facing Jordan,” Fakhoury said at a press conference.

The minister said the negotiations tackled a number of developments and policy related matters as well as future cooperation between the two countries.

“We reviewed progress on all the development assistance projects and programmes through which Germany is supporting the government of Jordan,” he said.

The minister added that Germany is also setting precedents by “helping us to cover the borrowing gap we face every year in the budget through very cheap long term loans that help us restructure the debt of the Kingdom”.

That is extremely useful and it is associated with reforms in critical areas including the water sector, Fakhoury stated.

Christine Toetzke, head of the Middle East division of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and head of the German delegation to Jordan, said Germany’s support to the Kingdom “reached a high record” this year.

“Germany is currently the second largest donor to Jordan… and I am pleased to announce that we could also commit the first ever German development policy loan to Jordan in the water sector,” Toetzke said.

She outlined the sectors to be covered, which include the water supply and sanitation, energy efficiency in the water sector and improved groundwater resource management.

Toetzke added that the support will also include the construction of new schools and funding for the vocational training system in Jordan.

German Ambassador to Jordan Birgitta Siefker-Eberle stressed her country’s commitment to “supporting Jordan in the wake of the many challenges facing the Kingdom”.

“Jordan is facing a multitude of challenges to its economic and financial resilience and stability due to the unstable situation in the region and to the burden it bears as a host country for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees,” Siefker-Eberle said.  

The ambassador added that Germany remains committed to its obligations under the “Jordan Compact” and to the common objective of turning the temporary presence of Syrian refugees in Jordan into an economic opportunity for both parties.

“With its considerable increase in assistance, Germany hopes to contribute to more policymaking and fiscal space for Jordan to face the current refugee challenge and to start addressing some of the long term developmental challenges,” Siefker-Eberle added.

The ambassador said that the two sides also discussed long term development challenges, starting by “looking beyond the current Syrian refugee crisis”.

 “The aim is to foster Jordan’s resilience and help it become economically and financially self-reliant and independent in the long run,” Siefker-Eberle said.

That is why the German assistance in Jordan focuses on sectors such as water, education, vocational training for young Jordanians, labour market reforms, the environment and climate change, energy, which “we believe are essential for the long-term development of Jordan”, the ambassador continued. 

Minister of Environment Yaseen Khayyat, whose ministry signed an agreement titled “Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Jordan through Labour Intensive Measures” with the director of the German Development Cooperation, said that this project will be implemented over two years and aims at improving the living conditions of the Syrian refugees and Jordanians.

Four cities and four rural areas will be identified to see how they fit in regards to the different requirements of the project, according to Khayyat.

The project will involve hiring 1,050 people, 50 per cent of whom are refugees, and will be selected in light of the Syrian crisis’s impact, Khayyat added.

“Twenty per cent of this number will be women and they will focus on developing and maintaning the green infrastructure in the targetted areas, ” Khayyat said.

Several aid agreements on the development aid cooperation were signed at the end of the meeting. 

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