WASHINGTON, April 21 (KUNA) -- A World Bank's (WB) body announced Friday funding for three new projects for Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, bringing total finances to USD one billion.
WB said in a statement projects financed by its Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) aim to improve lives of Syrian refugees and communities hosting them by expanding vital public health services in both Jordan and Lebanon, as well as strengthening critical wastewater infrastructure in Jordan.
It indicated that the GCFF will also have additional grants to leverage for further concessional financing following the announcement from the United Kingdom to catalyze concessional finance from multilateral development banks, part of which will channel through the GCFF, in addition to a pledge from Sweden.
According to the statement, in one year since its launch, the GCFF has approved nearly USD 200 million in grants to leverage five times that amount in concessional financing for seven projects in Jordan and Lebanon.
It added that the new funding "will lower interest rates to concessional levels on two USD 150 million health projects in Jordan and Lebanon," both of which will be financed in parallel by the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank Group, in addition to USD 45 million wastewater project in Jordan to be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The GCFF is also supporting a USD 300 million project in Jordan to promote investment and job creation for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees. Two other projects in Jordan have received GCFF funding, including a USD 48 million project to strengthen wastewater infrastructure and a USD 250 million project to improve the management and delivery of water and electricity.
In Lebanon, the GCFF is helping fund a USD 200 million roads and employment project that aims to connect less developed regions with centers of economic activity, while also creating construction jobs for Lebanese workers and Syrian refugees.
World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem said that "for the last six years, Jordan and Lebanon have been providing a global public good by hosting millions of Syrian refugees."
He added this Facility provides an open platform for donor countries and humanitarian and development organizations to come together and deliver the holistic support that Jordan and Lebanon need and deserve. "For their sake, and for the future of Syria and the region, we must build on this momentum," he said.
For his part, World Bank Director for Regional Programs and Partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa, Franck Bousquet stressed "no single country or organization can successfully address a large-scale refugee crisis on its own."
He noted that responding effectively requires forging strong partnerships that adapt and innovate to meet the evolving nature of the challenge.
"These principles are at the heart of the GCFF, which, beyond innovative financing, uses strong partnership with the UN to bridge the humanitarian-development divide, and an open platform to coordinate and leverage the efforts of multilateral development banks to better address the refugee crisis," he added.
The GCFF has now secured over USD 370 million in donor pledges in its first year, establishing a solid basis for reaching its five-year funding plan of raising USD one billion in grants to support Jordan and Lebanon, and an additional USD 500 million for potential future refugee crises in middle income countries across the globe. (end)