World Bank Project Focuses on Job Creation and Economic Inclusion
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 –- Job creation and economic inclusion are key priorities for Jordan and by supporting the development of micro, small and medium enterprises, a new World Bank financed project will foster job creation, ease access to finance for entrepreneurs and contribute to sustainable private sector-led growth in the Kingdom.
The $70 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development for Inclusive Growth Project, approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors today, aims to improve financial intermediation in Jordan for both new enterprises and those existing entrepreneurs struggling with sources of finance.
“MSMEs are a major contributor to employment opportunities,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Director for the Mashreq Department. “This loan will support the creation of much-needed employment opportunities for Jordan’s growing population of young people. By creating sustainable and inclusive access to finance, this will in turn help alleviate poverty and boost economic growth which is at the heart of the World Bank’s commitment to Jordan.”
The project focuses on governorates outside Amman to promote growth in underserved districts and so address regional disparities. The project also pays special attention to women as recipients for support by designing new products that target women and by encouraging banks to have special windows for them, especially in governorates where social barriers can be an obstacle to working women.
"The Jordanian authorities have recently made significant strides in improving the enabling environment for MSMEs which can be important creators of new jobs and employment opportunities,” said Sahar Nasr, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The Central Bank of Jordan has taken a number of key measures to improve MSME access to finance. These measures have contributed to some expansion, and helped shape a more positive enabling environment.”
The loan approved today will enhance this trend, said Nasr, by improving incentives for banks to expand MSME lending and supporting the design of new financial products in compliance with Shari’a Law.
The project is complemented by a capacity building Technical Assistance Facility which will be jointly carried out by the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation.