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Support to Middle East and North Africa to reach $20 billion

Staff writer |
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the World Bank Group will be tripling its commitment to the Middle East and North Africa in the next five years to nearly $20 billion.

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Speaking at the UK’s Supporting Syria and the Region conference, Kim said, “It is imperative that we rise to the challenge of the humanitarian crisis at hand, and that we do so in a way that supports development for generations to come.”

To support countries hosting large numbers of refugees, the World Bank Group is working on an extraordinary measure to provide $200 million dollars in concessional financing to help create jobs and increase access to education in Lebanon and Jordan.

“More than 2 million refugees from Syria are now in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Lebanon,” said Kim.

“The world owes a great debt to those two nations, who have generously helped Syrians, even though it has meant great sacrifice for their people and their economies.”

In addition, the World Bank Group in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank and the United Nations has launched an initiative to expand the amount of financing available to the region.

For Jordan and Lebanon, the MENA Financing Initiative aims to provide concessional financing by using grants from donor countries to buy down interest on loans. The goal is to raise $1 billion dollars of grants from donors to leverage between $3 and $4 billion dollars in concessional finance.

A second facility aims to support countries in rebuilding and recovering from the consequences of war and fragility by tapping international financial markets to issue special bonds, including sukukIslamic bonds.

The Government of Jordan, UK’s Department for International Development, and the World Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm are working on a proposal for special economic and industrial zones near Jordan’s border with Syria.

The project aims to give refugees more job opportunities by attracting foreign investors and supporting the relocation of displaced Syrian businesses.

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