A new US $15.2 million project agreement signed in Rome will aim to reduce rural poverty, vulnerability and inequality in Jordan by creating employment and income-generating opportunities for the rural poor, especially women and youth.
Zaid Al Lozi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and Michel Mordasini, Vice President of the IFAD, signed the loan and grant agreement at IFAD headquarters today to finance the Rural Economic Growth and Employment Project (REGEP).
Jordan has a natural resource scarcity – it is one of the most water poor countries in the world – as well as having one of the youngest populations in the region with the highest rates of youth unemployment. The IFAD project focuses on strengthening the export-oriented fruits and vegetables value chain as this is a sector where Jordan has a significant comparative advantage and which can provide significant job openings.
“This new agreement offers a tremendous opportunity for IFAD to support the government’s agriculture and poverty reduction goals, by creating employment for the most vulnerable rural people,” said Tarek Kotb, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Jordan. “To do this, we have built new partnerships that are community development oriented especially at the grassroots level.”
The project is expected to reach some 80,000 people living in rural communities and create over 100,000 jobs mainly in the governorates of Ajloun, Balqa, Jerash, Madaba and Mafraq to start.
The total project cost of $15.2 million is made up of an IFAD loan of $10.8 million, an IFAD grant of $0.5 million, and $ 3.9 million from the Government of Jordan as well as contributions from participants themselves.
The project will be implemented by the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation in partnership with the National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE), the Development and Employment Fund, the Jordan Fruit and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association and other partners with a strong commitment to serving the rural population and a strong private sector orientation. The Ministry of Agriculture will remain a key partner through NCARE and its participation in the Steering Committee.
Since 1980, IFAD has invested some $82 million in 9 programmes and projects in Jordan, benefiting about 78,000 households.