The Jordanian and French governments concluded consultations on development cooperation for the 2023-2026 period on Tuesday night in Paris, with the participation of a Jordanian delegation headed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Zeina Toukan.
The consultations resulted in the signing of the fifth memorandum of understanding framing development cooperation with France for the 2023-2026 period, providing a new funding ceiling of up to 912 million euros, according to a ministry statement.
The sum will support the general budget and will finance priority development programmes, with the two sides to jointly design the context of the implementation of the economic and public sector modernisation plans.
The memorandum was signed by Toukan and Deputy CEO of the French Development Agency (AFD) Marie-Helene Loison, in the presence of Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships Chrysoula Zacharopoulou.
The memo includes funding of up to 650 million euros in concessional loans for sectoral support through the public budget, and provides financing for priority infrastructure projects. The deal also allocates up to 200 million euros in funding for the private sector through the AFD-affiliated PROPARCO, which specialises in private sector financing.
The MoU also provides grants of up to 62 million euros to support the Jordan Response Plan to the Syrian crisis (JRP), and provides technical support to build the technical and institutional capacity of the ministries and institutions involved in the implementation of projects to be contracted within the framework of the memorandum.
On the sidelines of discussions, several bilateral meetings were held with Zacharopoulou and senior officials of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs over developing bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation between the two countries, and the subsequent steps needed to implement the memorandum of understanding.
The meeting provided an opportunity to acquaint French officials with Jordan's various comprehensive economic and administrative reforms and priorities for the next phase under the executive programme of the Economic Modernisation Vision (EMV) and the Public Sector Modernisation Roadmap for the 2023-2025 period.
During the meeting, the French side was urged to continue supporting priority development efforts to address economic challenges, including those arising from hosting Syrian refugees.
Delegation members also stressed the importance of continued support from the international community for Jordan’s continuation of service provision for refugees and their host communities, especially in the light of the lack of funding for the JRP.
The French officials stressed France's “great support” for Jordan and its continued commitment to boosting economic and development cooperation with the Kingdom in support of Jordan's next slate of priorities, highlighting the need to translate the signed memo into projects and programmes that support the implementation of these national priorities.
During the meeting with stakeholders at PROPARCO, they were briefed on the most important sectoral priorities of the EMV's 2023-2025 Executive Programme in terms of projects for the coming period.
They were also acquainted with the reforms implemented by Jordan, as well as Jordan's efforts to support the business and investment environment under the new investment and public-private partnership laws.
The company stressed its interest in supporting the National Water Carrier Project (Aqaba-Amman for desalination and water transport) and school building projects in the form of public-private partnership. Company representatives also noted their continued support for small- and medium-sized enterprises by providing credit lines through commercial banks, with a particular focus on women and youth.
During another technical meeting with senior officials at AFD, talks covered priority projects related to water and climate change, such as projects to reduce water loss, the national water carrier project, the water sector's sanitation projects and research into steps to implement the memo.
Toukan briefed the French side on the government's top reforms in the water sector, and developments in preparation for the national water carrier project.
In this regard, she expressed her appreciation to the French government’s pledges within the Group of Europe at the donors' conference, during which France pledged to provide development and investment loans worth 200 million euros to contribute to financing the project, in addition to a technical grant of 5 million euros.
The minister also called on the French side to provide more grants and concessional funding for this strategic project.
French representatives commended the efforts of the Jordanian government to overcome its economic and financial challenges.
They also praised the modernisation and reform programmes being implemented in the Kingdom, while stressing France's interest in moving forward with support for priority development programmes and projects during the coming period, and within the framework of the new memorandum of understanding for the years 2023-2026.
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