OPEC Fund provides $70.5mn loan to tackle COVID-19 socio-economic impact in Jordan

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Austria-based intergovernmental development finance institution, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a $70.5 million worth loan agreement with Jordan to help alleviate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing social safety net programs and stimulus packages.

The OPEC Fund loan would specifically help the creation of 14,500 jobs in the forestry and tourist industries, according to an OFID statement. Furthermore, it will encourage the hiring of recent graduates in the field of information and communication technology, as well as increase the staffing of various healthcare institutions.

Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
Director General

“As Jordan recovers from disruptions related to COVID-19, creating employment opportunities for youth remains especially critical. The OPEC Fund is pleased to partner with the Jordanian government and the World Bank to support job creation in key sectors and to help increase economic resilience.”

This loan is part of the OPEC Fund’s $1 billion commitment to collective and coordinated COVID-19-related assistance for developing countries worldwide.

According to a World Bank report, the Jordanian economy contracted by 1.6 percent in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2020, unemployment soared to 24.7 percent, with young unemployment reaching an all-time high of 50 percent.

The OPEC Fund has contributed more than $322 million to support public, private, and trade finance operations in Jordan’s energy, health, education, and agriculture sectors, including the current loan.

Last month, OFID has inked a $75 million loan agreement with Bangladesh to improve connectivity and accessibility between the rural southwest regions and the capital Dhaka. As per the reports, The OPEC Fund loan will help fund the construction of the Nalua-Baherchar Bridge (1.3km) and access roads across the Pandab-Paira River.

Related: OPEC Fund unites with Banco Ficohsa to offer $25mn worth loan for Honduran SMEs