The conflict in the Middle East has displaced millions, cost the world economy billions, and taken thousands of lives. While most of the solutions to these problems suggested in the media tend to focus on military action, the World Bank is taking steps to deal with the aftermath of these conflicts.
With the intention of creating 100,000 new jobs for displaced Syrian refugees, the World Bank’s Board of Directors agreed to provide $100 million (US) in financing to Jordan. Jordan has accepted a disproportionately high number of refugees from the conflicts with ISIS. The World Bank also announced that it would give the aid at an interest rate usually reserved for only the poorest of nations.
While these steps are highly unusual for the World Bank, it was decided to offer these measures due to the extremely difficult situation facing both the refugees of the terrible Middle Eastern conflicts, as well as the Jordanian hosts that have accepted them. The World Bank hopes the aid will foster a partnership between the Jordanian government, other donor countries, and other organizations hoping to help social and financial development in Jordan.
The World Bank’s announcement regarding this aid was made during a visit by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Middle Eastern Kingdom. The visit was part of an effort by these organizations to reaffirm the world’s commitment to overcoming the humanitarian crisis through assistance and long-term development planning.
The two groups hope to influence Jordan into finding innovative solutions to address the economic impact and social stresses caused by the enormous refugee influx. The World Bank hopes to help Jordan shore up its basic social services, create job opportunities, and turn the crisis into an opportunity to drastically expand the nation’s financial development.
“The Jordanian government has done an exceptional job in helping to meet the challenges posed by the large flows of refugees,” according to Kim. “It is now up to the international community to do more to help Jordan – and provide it with the innovative financing it needs to continue hosting refugees. It’s also important for Jordan to enact necessary reforms that will attract investments needed for the economy to grow and provide shared prosperity for all Jordanians.”
The announcement by the World Bank came just three days after it announced a separate $100 million financing package aimed at supporting educational opportunities for displaced Lebanese and Syrian refugee children. The terms of that aid package will be similar to the ones extended to Jordan.