• Implementation Support Agency (ISA): World Bank
  • Total project financing: $400 million
  • Funding from GCFF: $51 million
  • GCFF Financing Approval Date: 07/28/2016
  • Project Closing Date: 1/31/2023
  • % Disbursed: 90%
  • Status: Under implementation
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About the project

This six-year program (2016-2023) aims to enhance economic opportunities for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan. To achieve this, the program focuses on several key result areas, including improving the labor market for Syrians, enhancing working conditions and formalizing the labor market, promoting entrepreneurship and small business development, increasing access to financial services through digital platforms, and enhancing women’s participation in the labor force by addressing childcare-related barriers. The program aims to improve economic opportunities for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan, thereby enhancing their livelihoods and contributing to the country’s overall economic growth. By implementing these measures, the program seeks to create more job opportunities, attract investment, and improve the livelihoods of both Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Project Development Objective (PDO)

Improve Economic Opportunities for Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Jordan. The Program comprised four Result Areas:

  1. Improving the labor market for Syrians;
  2. Improving the investment climate;
  3. Improving investment promotion; and (iv) Improving exports’ competitiveness.

Project Implementation Status
(As of December 31, 2022)

Progress towards achievement of the PDO is rated Satisfactory, while overall implementation progress is rated Moderately Satisfactory due to an uneven progress across results areas. The status of the nine result areas is summarized below.

  • Result Area 1: Improving labor market for Syrians (Parent and Additional Financing). The Program is making good progress on Syrians’ access to the labor market because of the new flexible scheme for work permits that was introduced during the Program restructuring in June 2020. The number of work permits issued in 2021 has jumped to 62,000 from a plateau of 45,000 pre-restructuring, and the figures for 2022 are approaching 60,000 as at end-November 2022. The new permits allow Syrians to work in all open occupations, in any sector, with flexibility to move across employers and sectors.
  • Result Area 2: Improving investment climate (Parent). The targets and disbursements under this result area, related to regulatory processes as well as licensing and inspections reform, have been achieved.
  • Result Area 3: Improving investment promotion (Parent). The targets and disbursements under this result area, related to supporting the Jordan Investment Commission (JIC), have been achieved.
  • Result Area 4: Improving formality and working conditions (Additional Financing). Work in agriculture is now regulated and the number of Syrians registered in social security has increased from 12,000 to 19,000. However, the December 2021 targets for social security registration have not been achieved, because as many workers lost social security coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic as those brought under social security coverage through Social Security Corporation’s (SSC’s) extraordinary efforts. The issue appears to be the large number of businesses closing or going fully or partly informal; this is a recurrent phenomenon, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore proposed to restructure this DLI to focus on systemic improvements through data analysis, communication, and enforcement measures.
  • Result Area 5: Improving entrepreneurship (Additional Financing). The home-based businesses target for Syrians is far from being achieved, although other forms of entrepreneurship are progressing. Since 2019, 133 Syrians have registered a sole proprietorship company versus 93 home-based businesses, and 1,612 Syrians registered a joint company with a Jordanian since 2017, with a peak from 2019 to 2022. The progress on Jordanian home-base businesses is also slowing down. It is therefore proposed to restructure this Result Area and focus on enabling policies, including for Syrians.
  • Result Area 6: Improving digital financial inclusion (Additional Financing). Significant progress has been made (beyond the targets) on the expansion of access to digital finance (e-wallets). The DLI targets have been surpassed for Jordanians, including for women, as well as for Syrians. Syrians’ access to digital finance increased dramatically to 126,000 e-wallets in December 2022 from a baseline of 18,000 in April 2020, because of the Central Bank’s flexible e-KYC measures, digitization of humanitarian cash transfers, and communication campaigns- using an encompassing “one refugee” approach.
  • Result Area 7: Improving women’s economic opportunities through childcare (Additional Financing). The use of e-licensing for childcare businesses is increasing slowly due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions of the childcare sector: 1,059 nurseries were e-licensed by December 2022, i.e., almost halfway to the DLI target of 2,500. The Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) is working on overhauling its regulatory framework for childcare, including on new regulations for home-based nurseries (which should increase the supply of nurseries), as well as on a training program for service providers to ensure good quality of service.
  • Result Area 8: Improving women’s economic opportunities through social norms (Additional Financing). Communication campaigns to address social norms affecting women’s labor force participation have commenced and will continue in 2023. The design and production of the multimedia campaigns are making progress. The first multimedia campaign has been broadcast and is being evaluated.
  • Result Area 9: Improving exports competitiveness. Standard Operating Procedures for the export of perishable agricultural produce have been adopted and published by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to improve export competitiveness. Pesticides management, extension services and inspections are being improved as part of the Bank dialogue around this Result Area with MoA, and a modernization roadmap is being prepared with MoA. Several aspects of the roadmap will be implemented in the coming years, including through support via the new World Bank supported Agricultural Resilience, Value Chain Development, and Innovation (“ARDI”) Project.