EBRD infrastructure investment addresses refugee crisis in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD infrastructure investment addresses refugee crisis in Jordan

Akel Biltaji, Mayor of Greater Amman Municipality and EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti

€102 million loan for municipality of Amman

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting Jordan as the continuing influx of refugees from Syria is putting a massive strain on the country’s resources.

A €102 million loan to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) will finance solid waste infrastructure that is urgently needed in the country’s capital. The loan will be provided in two tranches and will include the refinancing of existing debt as well as financing for the most pressing investment needs, given the rapidly increasing volume of waste.

A £5 million investment grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will co-finance the first committed tranche, worth €50 million. The second uncommitted instalment of up to €50 million is expected to be supplemented by an additional amount of up to €50 million co-financed by several donors including DFID, the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development and others.

Jordan hosts around 1.3 million refugees from Syria who have fled their homes, of whom more than 400,000 are living in Amman alone. This is creating enormous pressure on municipal services in Jordan’s capital. The EBRD financing will increase the capacity of the city and the municipality to address the most urgent needs as well as to strengthen long-term resilience.

Development of solid waste infrastructure is urgently required to address a 25 per cent increase in the levels of waste generation. This modernisation will lead to improved services and reduce the environmental and social impact of a sharp rise in the number of people living in and around Amman.

The financing is linked to a comprehensive programme to reform the solid waste sector in the city, with a focus on increasing its operational and financial sustainability and its efficiency. The project will be complemented by a comprehensive technical cooperation package to support GAM in further enhancing its financial management capacity and auditing skills and ensuring successful procurement and implementation of the investment components.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “We are very pleased to partner once again with the city authorities of Amman. Our target is to strengthen the city in the face of a serious challenge. Jordan is highly exposed to a huge humanitarian crisis, which has an impact on the country. In this situation it is imperative that the international community supports Jordan as it deals with the consequences of the crisis.”

Akel Biltaji, Mayor of Greater Amman Municipality, commented: “We are planning to develop with the EBRD a sustainable and eco-friendly plan to enhance our response to the refugee crisis. This will also include the creation of jobs for the whole population and make Amman an inclusive city that cares about the environment.”

In 2015, the EBRD provided a US$ 18 million loan to the Greater Amman Municipality to help manage solid waste, generate electricity and reduce CO2 emissions, all of which have substantial environmental impacts.

Jordan became an EBRD shareholder in 2012 and to date the Bank has committed US$ 738 million across 32 projects in various sectors of the economy, in addition to US$ 120 million of trade facilitation credit lines with local banks.

The EBRD’s strategic plan for the period 2016-18 has three priorities: strengthening economic resilience, addressing global challenges and supporting regional integration. In the context of the EBRD’s focus on Green Economy Transition since late 2015, the Bank expects to more than triple the volume of renewable energy financed in Jordan in the near future.