Barbara Joziasse is Ambassador at the Embassy of the kingdom of the Netherlands in Amman, Jordan. In her interview for our ambassador series, she highlights the importance of external support for recovery and reconstruction efforts in countries impacted by the refugee crisis.
The Government of Jordan estimates that over 1.3 million Syrians (of whom 661.859 registered with UNHCR as refugees) and around 2.5 million people from other countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Palestine and Sudan have sought sanctuary within Jordan. The country proves to be a safe haven in times of regional crises, such as during the Syrian war which is still ongoing. The large number of people that entered Jordan over the past years, has put a high burden on Jordan’s public services and host communities.
Primary goods such as food, water and housing, and public services such as electricity, health and education need to be shared with a lot more people, leading to scarcity and rising prices. In addition, the country`s economic growth is low and unemployment, especially under young people is high, being 31% under young men and 57% under young women. This threatens Jordan`s social stability.
Besides patience and compassion from Jordanians, external support from the international community is required to face the country`s challenges
Besides patience and compassion from Jordanians, external support from the international community is required to face the country`s challenges, as was highlighted by the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, during her visit to Jordan at the end of June 2018. The Netherlands continues to support sustainable economic growth, employment creation and education in Jordan.
I therefore highly support FMO`s recent developed strategy for Northern Africa and the Middle East to make lending available for recovery and reconstruction efforts in these countries which are impacted by the refugee crisis, including Jordan. FMO with the help of the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) and in cooperation with our embassy, has proven to be able to provide targeted support in the development and construction of key infrastructure projects. The provision of access to long term finance for several investments in Jordan, add directly to the country`s resilience and solve some of the urgent hurdles the country must overcome in order to realize sustainable economic growth.
The provision of access to long term finance for several investments in Jordan, add directly to the country`s resilience
In 2017, the Infrastructure Development Fund invested for instance in the development, construction and maintenance of a solar power plant in the Mafraq region in northern Jordan.
This solar power plant will generate approximately 143GWh annually, serving approximately 60,000 customers. By generating electricity from a renewable energy source, this solar plant is expected to contribute to a diversification of Jordan’s fuel mix and to provide for more energy security. By generating electricity from a domestic resource, this kind of interventions turn challenges into opportunities.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to FMO for their professionalism and flexibility and I am looking forward to our continued cooperation.