Mar 9, 2017

The European Union and Jordan cooperate to stimulate the local economy and create new jobs by including more people and business into the formal financial system. Having promoted for two consecutive years policies for making financial services more accessible, the partners took a step back to look at the big picture of their joint efforts.

The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), the Development and Employment Fund (DEF), and the microfinance association Tanmeyah promote financial inclusion in Jordan. This national endeavor is supported by the EU and through technical assistance by the GIZ Programme for the “Promotion of the Microfinance Sector in the MENA Region” (MFMR). Having jointly driven financial sector reforms for two consecutive years, representatives from all organizations gathered in Amman in February to review past and future milestones.

Mr. Ibrahim Laafia from the EU Delegation to Jordan introduced  the undergoing, increasingly comprehensive reforms for “Promoting financial inclusion through improved governance and outreach of microfinance”. Underlining the sector players’ crucial role, Mr. Thomas Rahn from GIZ MFMR stressed the growing microfinance sector’s significant contribution to employment in Jordan over the past years. Financial policymakers, regulators, market players, and their development partners can jointly ensure that the sector keeps both evolving and stable.

The most essential, currently underway activities are:

  • The revision of the national strategy for the microfinance sector together with sector representatives as Mr. Emad Shanaah from the MoPIC elaborated;
  • The drafting of regulations for microfinance and the granting of licenses; the development of a national financial inclusion strategy in a multi-stakeholder process, as both Mrs. Nour Al-Momani and Mrs. Haneen Almuhaissen from the CBJ presented;
  • The strengthening of DEF’s role as a wholesale lender towards increasing outreach of MFIs to rural areas, as Mrs. Djenara Murad from DEF stressed;
  • The development of Tanmeyah’s capacity and services in advocacy for the sector, research, social performance, etc. to contribute to the outreach of microfinance, as Mr. Saleem Nammari from Tanmeyah presented.

Mr. Bilal Yan Hagen from the GIZ MFMR Programme highlighted the programme’s upcoming support activities for financial inclusion in the Kingdom together with GIZ’s other technical assistance for the promotion of employment and digital financial services.

A premiered video from last year’s Dead Sea forum on “Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in the Arab World” underpinned the synergetic cooperation of the EU-Jordan programme partners as Mr. Emad Shanaah from MoPIC concluded: “this big achievement was the icing on the cake and we can be sure that we are on the right direction towards getting to the goal”.

By Sofia Bublatzky and Atilla Kaiser-Yuecel