IFC, Netherlands launch private sector development program in the MENA region
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of the Netherlands launched a pioneering multi-sector program in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa to help create a stronger private sector, unlock new markets, support entrepreneurship, and create jobs.
The MENA Private Sector Development (PSD) initiative comes at a critical time as the region is facing a mounting number of challenges, including high rates of youth unemployment. The initiative will combine IFC’s advisory services and blended concessional finance to catalyze private sector investment in potentially high-impact projects in Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza, Algeria, Morocco, and Yemen.
Creating an efficient and well-functioning business environment will serve to accomplish the Government of Jordan’s two main priorities; stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. Both of which cannot happen without a strong private sector. To do that, we will need to work together as Government with our donor partners to execute on the necessary reforms,” said Dr. Wissam A. Rabadi, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in Jordan.
In Jordan the advisory work will focus on improving job opportunities for women and youth, expanding access to finance for smaller businesses, and streamlining business registration through an integrated framework to cut time and red tape.
“The Netherlands has had a long-standing partnership with IFC, supporting both investment and advisory services in emerging markets,” said H.E Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan, Barbara Joziasse. “The private sector is the main engine for growth and employment and in Jordan one of our main priorities is to support it in building a more sustainable and resilient economy. This new private sector development initiative in partnership with IFC aims at tackling important elements to further develop the private sector in Jordan such as promoting a better business environment, strengthening employment opportunities for women and youth through entrepreneurship development and much more
Sufyan Al-Issa, IFC’s Regional Head of Operations, said: “The program represents a strategic partnership with the government of Netherlands to support growth and job creation in MENA region through both investment and advisory interventions. Working together with the Jordanian government, private sector, and our development partners will help us leverage financial resources, expertise and networks to spur innovation and a stronger private sector in Jordan and beyond.”
A dedicated blended finance facility, Alafaq Aljadida (New Horizons), will be used to help reduce the risk profile of projects with high development impact. This will build on IFC’s experience in blended concessional finance where adherence to DFI Enhanced Principles for Blended Concessional Finance in Private Sector Projects, transparency, and effective governance are key in managing and deploying concessional donor funds with IFC’s own funds.
Last week the MENA PSD program was launched in the West Bank and Gaza in the presence of a Dutch trade delegation of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development of the Netherlands and the local business community.