Washington DC, June 25, 2020— The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$374 million project to provide cash support to 270,000 poor and vulnerable households, including those who recently lost their source of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan. The Emergency Cash Transfer COVID-19 Response Project benefits from co-financing from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The COVID 19 pandemic has substantially weakened Jordan’s near-term growth prospects. Jordanian households are feeling the impact of this economic shock mainly through job losses and reduced earnings.
Informal workers are being particularly impacted and have no access to formal social protection schemes. Moreover, informal workers are disproportionally concentrated in poor and near poor households. As a result, near poor households are being pushed into poverty and poor families are being pushed further away from the poverty line.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Bank mobilized resources to help Jordan face the health impacts of the pandemic,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. “This new project aims to help Jordan address the social and economic repercussions of the crisis as a result of shrinking job markets, wage cuts and reduced income levels. Providing emergency cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households, including female headed households, is key to enable them to weather the crisis and preserve resilience and social stability.”
“To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on formal sector workers, the Government of Jordan has swiftly introduced exceptional measures mandating firms to keep their workers, setting restrictions on wage cuts and providing liquidity and exemptions to firms,” said Dr. Wissam Rabadi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation. “The Government has also adopted an ambitious national program to protect poor and vulnerable households affected by the COVID-19 crisis through the National Aid Fund (NAF), Jordan’s leading agency for cash transfers to the poor.”
The World Bank’s Emergency Cash Transfer COVID-19 Response Project will support the Government of Jordan’s National Program by providing cash transfers over a period of 6 months to 190,000 vulnerable households not currently benefiting from NAF. The Project will also support the Takaful cash transfer program to cover 55,000 poor households in 2020 and 85,000 in 2021, as well as provide a 6-month benefit top-up for current beneficiary households to reach the same benefit levels set for the emergency cash transfers.
The emergency cash transfers will use the delivery platform built for Takaful, a modern and digitized cash transfer program for the poor launched in May 2019 alongside Jordan’s National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) for 2019-2025. Emergency cash transfer beneficiaries are selected from the Takaful database, which includes up-to-date and verified socio-economic data for over one million households using the data exchange platform of the National Unified Registry (NUR).
“The Takaful platform introduced significant improvements in cash transfer delivery systems in Jordan, including online registration, automatic data verification, improved targeting methodology, beneficiary enrollment sessions to open digital accounts, payments through basic bank accounts or e-wallets, and a robust Grievance and Redress Mechanism,” said Khalid Moheyddeen, World Bank Social Protection Specialist and Team Leader. “The Takaful platform is the basis for the future expansion of the National Unified Registry to be the single gateway for all Jordanians seeking social assistance.”
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.