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World Bank grants Jordan $70 mn to ease youth unemployment

Grant will go towards providing small loans to young people in depressed rural areas who have borne brunt of Jordan's economic malaise

Reuters, Wednesday 6 Mar 2013
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The World Bank has granted Jordan $70 million to provide small loans to young people in depressed rural areas who have borne the brunt of the country's sluggish economic growth.

With almost 40 percent of Jordan's seven-million-strong population under 15 years old, youth unemployment – which has almost doubled over the past decade – remains acute.

Every year, there are at least 50,000 new entrants to Jordan's labour market.

"This loan will support the creation of much needed employment opportunities for Jordan's growing population of young people," the World Bank's Ferid Belhaj said in a statement.

Belhaj added that the move would also aid in alleviating poverty and boosting economic growth.

Arab uprisings in the region have negatively impacted the Hashemite Kingdom's economic growth, hitting domestic demand and reducing the inflow of cash from overseas, especially remittances sent home by Jordanian expatriates.

According to Jordanian government figures, the national unemployment rate currently stands at 14 percent, although independent economists put the number considerably higher.

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