World Bank Invests $50M in Jordan's Innovative Startups Fund

ArabNet Team, Aug 22 2017

The Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation signed a $50M facilitated loan agreement with the World Bank (WB) to support the establishment of the Innovative Startups Fund.

The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) will also support the fund with $48M, Planning Minister, Imad Fakhoury said at the signing ceremony on Monday.

The fund project will be implemented and operated by the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation.

According to Fakhoury, the fund translates one of the “key and critical recommendations” of the Economic Policy Council almost a year ago, and is in line with Jordan 2025 vision and the recently adopted Jordan Economic Growth Plan 2018-2022. These blueprints seek to enhance economic growth by providing further support to innovative and entrepreneurial micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), that create jobs and contribute to the national economy, he added.

The fund will help potential entrepreneurs in further developing their business ideas, connecting them with business incubators and providing venture capital to entrepreneurial small- and medium-sized businesses that prove their ability for sustainability and growth, according to Fakhoury. It will also support 200 innovative business ideas across the country.

The World Bank’s Regional Director for the Mashreq Saroj Jha stressed the importance of investing in the SMEs sector, as it makes up to 75 per cent of the Jordanian economy. He also underlined the establishment of the fund as an effort towards achieving sustainable growth in the Kingdom.

For his part, Mohammad Jafari, general manager of the Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation, said the corporation works in close partnership with financing corporations, owners of SMEs and the government, a matter that entitles it to run the fund. He said the selection of investments will be the decision of a specialized private sector committee that will follow “clear and announced” selection criteria to ensure transparency and efficiency.  Jafari noted that the fund will invest in projects and in other funds, as long as all funded projects are established and operating in Jordan.

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