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The Netherlands launches private sector development programme in Jordan, MENA

By JT - Feb 10,2020 - Last updated at Feb 10,2020

AMMAN — The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of the Netherlands on Monday launched a multi-sector programme in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to strengthen the private sector, unlock new markets, support entrepreneurship and create jobs, according to a statement from the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

The MENA Private Sector Development (PSD) initiative comes “at a critical time”, as the region is facing a mounting number of challenges, including high rates of youth unemployment, the statement said. 

The initiative will combine the IFC’s advisory services and blended concessional finance to catalyse private sector investments in potentially high-impact projects in Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen. 

Creating an efficient and well-functioning business environment will serve to accomplish the Government of Jordan’s two main priorities: Stimulating economic growth and creating jobs; both of which cannot happen without a strong private sector, read the statement. 

“To do that, we will need to work together as a government with our donor partners to execute the necessary reforms,” Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi was quoted in the statement as saying.

In Jordan, the advisory work will focus on improving job opportunities for women and youth, expanding access to finance for smaller businesses and streamlining business registration through an integrated framework to cut time and red tape. 

“The Netherlands has had a long-standing partnership with the IFC, supporting both investment and advisory services in emerging markets,” said Dutch Ambassador to Jordan Barbara Joziasse in the statement.

“The private sector is the main engine for growth and employment, and in Jordan one of our main priorities is to support it in building a more sustainable and resilient economy,” the envoy said. 

IFC Regional Head of Operations Sufyan Al Issa said: “The programme represents a strategic partnership with the government of the Netherlands to support growth and job creation in the MENA region through both investments and advisory interventions.” 

“Working together with the Jordanian government, the private sector and our development partners will help us leverage financial resources, expertise and networks to spur innovation and a stronger private sector in Jordan and beyond,” he added.

A blended finance facility, Alafaq Aljadida (New Horizons), will be used to help reduce the risk profile of projects with high development impact, according to the statement.

This will build on the IFC’s experience in blended concessional finance, as adherence to the Development Finance Institutions’ Enhanced Principles for Blended Concessional Finance in Private Sector Projects, transparency and effective governance are key in managing and deploying concessional donor funds with the IFC’s own funds, the statement said.

Last week, the MENA PSD programme was launched in the West Bank and Gaza in the presence of a Dutch trade delegation of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of the Netherlands and the local business community.

The IFC is a sister organisation of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, and is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, according to the statement. 

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