EBRD strengthens Jordan’s infrastructure in contribution to address refugee crisis

By Nibal Zgheib

Half of Jordanians and 30 per cent of the 1.4 million Syrian refugees in the country live in the capital Amman

Half of Jordanians and 30 per cent of the 1.4 million Syrian refugees in the country live in the capital Amman

JOD 3.2 million loan to Greater Amman Municipality

The EBRD is stepping up its support to Jordan as the ongoing influx of refugees from Syria continues to place a massive strain on the country’s resources.

The Bank is providing a JOD 3.2 million loan to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) to finance the construction of the fifth cell at the Al-Ghabawi landfill. The loan is part of the uncommitted second tranche of a €50 million loan to GAM approved in 2016 to finance improvements in solid waste management and infrastructure. The landfill’s expansion is urgently needed given the rapidly increasing volume of waste being accumulated in the country’s capital.

A £4.25 million investment grant provided by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) will co-finance the Bank’s loan.

The €50 million loan in its entirety is expected to be co-financed by several donors including the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development and others.

The Al-Ghabawi landfill site is reaching full capacity which presents a substantial risk of polluting the water, soil and air in Amman, Jordan’s most populous city with over 4 million inhabitants. The development of the solid waste infrastructure is required to address the city’s 25 per cent increase in waste levels in recent years.

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

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

Janet Heckman the EBRD Managing Director for the Southern and eastern Mediterranean, said: “We are very pleased to continue our cooperation with the authorities of Amman. Strengthening the resilience of the city is a priority to address this huge humanitarian crisis. We stand ready together with the international community to support Jordan as it deals with the impacts of this challenge.”

Yousef Shawarbeh, President of GAM committee, said: “We are delighted that the strong partnership with the EBRD continues to support the improvement of solid waste management in our capital city. This particular project will increase the capacity of the Al Ghabawi landfill, which serves a population of over 5 million people, including half a million Syrian refugees. The EBRD’s investments in this sector are ensuring GAM’s resilience to the refugee crisis and we look forward to continuing this partnership going forward. We would like to also take this opportunity to thank the donors who are working with us and the EBRD in this sector, including the EU and DFID.”

The EBRD investment is in line with the Bank’s new concept of transition qualities, introduced at the beginning of 2017. The Bank argues that a well-functioning market economy should be competitive, well-governed, green, inclusive resilient and integrated.

Jordan became an EBRD country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has committed close to €900 million through 35 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy.