GENEVA, December 18, 2023- The Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), managed by the World Bank, announced the addition of Armenia as a GCFF Benefiting Country. This announcement at the Global Refugee Forum, follows the formal review and decision on Armenia’s eligibility by the GCFF Steering Committee on December 11.
Established in 2016, the GCFF provides concessional financing to support middle-income countries (MICs) that provide a global public good by hosting large numbers of refugees. At present the GCFF support six Benefiting Countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jordan, Lebanon, and Moldova.
The announcement was made at an event that brought together a diverse set of stakeholders including ministerial level representatives of refugee hosting countries (Jordan, Colombia, and Moldova), international development partners, the IMF, UNHCR, World Bank, and donor countries, including Japan and Netherlands.
Armenia has addressed several waves of displacement, providing international protection and life-saving assistance to thousands of displaced persons. With the latest influx of 100,000 people recently displaced from Nagorno Karabakh, representing 3 percent of the total population of Armenia, the country is now faced with significant socio-economic pressures. GCFF funding for Armenia will support projects and programs aimed at improving the lives of refugees and the communities hosting them throughout the country.
"Thank you for including Armenia as one of the beneficiary countries. The intensity of refugee flows, combined with protracted crisis from the past have put a tremendous strain on services in the country during the last months. We appreciate your support and agility in providing us funds from GCFF,’’ said Eduard Hakobyan, Deputy Minister of Finance, Armenia.
During the event, several Supporting Countries also announced contributions to the GCFF. The new Co-Chair of the GCFF Steering Committee, the Netherlands announced 10 million Euros to support Armenia.
"In the last eight years, the GCFF has fulfilled hope vested in it. It has created an opportunity for MICs to leverage the generous support for their own development priorities. GCFF by design, fully recognizes and supports primacy of host country’s own development goals. Countries borrow for their own strategic priorities and GCFF helps them include displaced people in this priority, by leveraging funds and making them more accessible,’’ said Pascalle Grotenhuis Director General for International Cooperation, Government of the Netherlands.
Similarly, the United States of America, a valued and important partner of the GCFF confirmed its contribution of US$ 5 million to the Facility.
"GCFF brings together policy dialogue with financing. It brings concessional financing that recognizes the value of MICs hosting large number of refugees. GCFF helps us be prepared and provide an instrument in place when crises appeared, first in Latin America and now in Eastern Europe. We remain committed to the GCFF and urge others to join us to protect refugees and support opportunities for refugees and host communities,’’ said Eric Meyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa and Middle East Department of Treasury, United States of America.
Beyond financing, the GCFF offers a platform for partnership and coordination, bringing together development partners, MDBs and the UNHCR to facilitate dialogue with and support for hosting refugees. Governments in developing legal frameworks, formulating legislation and policies for inclusion and assistance of refugees.
"We all know that crises are here to stay. Hence preparedness is key, especially for countries that border conflict and fragility hotspots. One, we need partnerships as no single institution or government can do it alone. Two, we must scale up financing so we can reach a greater number of countries. GCFF provides a flexible, agile and predictable instrument as we better prepare for crises,’’ said Soukeyna Kane, Director, Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank.
The GCFF’s continued success in providing effective and timely support to existing Benefiting Countries and emerging displacement crises such as the one in Armenia stems from the unwavering commitment and support of its donors. To-date, the GCFF has approved $853.72 million in grants, which have enabled over $6.4 billion in loans on concessional terms from partner Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to support 32 projects in job creation, expanding vital public services (such as health and education), and developing sustainable infrastructure.
The GCFF was established in 2016 to provide concessional financing to support middle-income countries (MICs) that provide a global public good by hosting large numbers of refugees. The Facility is a partnership that brings together refugee hosting countries, donor countries, multilateral development banks, and the United Nations.