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The importance of US aid to Jordan

A picture taken on September 7, 2017 shows an information billboard bearing the name of the Sahara Forest Project and its supporters, the Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Norway, the European Union, USAID, the Grieg Foundation, and Yara International, at the Launch Station in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba. [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]
A picture taken on September 7, 2017 shows an information billboard bearing the name of the Sahara Forest Project and its supporters, the Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Norway, the European Union, USAID, the Grieg Foundation, and Yara International, at the Launch Station in the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba. [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]

The memorandum of understanding signed between Jordan and the US that was signed in February 2018 ends this month, it pledged to provide $1.275 billion annually in bilateral foreign aid from 2018 to 2022; a total of $6.375 billion. In 2018, US Congress increased the pledged aid to $1.525 billion, so that this funding includes $1.08 billion in economic aid, in addition to military support worth $425 million.

During King Abdullah II's historic visit to the US in July 2021 and his meeting – as the first Arab leader – with the new US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, American officials and decision-makers in the US, the aid file was discussed, which confirmed the US administration's keenness to provide all forms of support to Jordan, especially economic support. The king's visit to the US was followed by the visit of a Jordanian ministerial delegation that included the Ministers of Planning and International Cooperation, Nasser Al-Shraideh, and Minister of Finance Muhammad Al-Assis, in September 2021, to follow up on the results of the royal visit. The aid file and its details were part of the talks.

This month, we are awaiting the signing of a new memorandum of understanding between the kingdom and the US, which we expect to renew the memorandum of understanding with approximately $6.5 billion in aid to Jordan to be provided over the next five years.

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The importance of US aid is that it has been the largest, most stable, and most secure over the past years (Jordan is the third largest recipient of annual US foreign aid in the world). The US aid has formed a foundation and main pillar of the government's budget and a means to relieve its chronic deficit. The announcement of the renewal of the memorandum coincides with the Jordanian parliament's approval of the 2022 budget. US aid usually enables Jordan to obtain loans through available loan guarantees that have always helped Jordan with international lenders, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The foreign aid file is a very heavy file at a time when most international aid has declined with the decline in the performance of the global economy, especially in light of the global pandemic. However, for Jordan, it remained, specifically the US aid, and it is an affirmation of appreciation of the efforts of King Abdullah II, with friendly authorities and countries. It is also a recognition of the reforms implemented by Jordan at all levels, in addition to international and donor bodies' understanding of Jordan's urgent development needs.

Certainly, aid and grants will help the government implement its economic priorities programme for the years (2021-2023), especially major projects, foremost of which is the national water carrier project, which will receive $100 million in US aid.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 14 February 2022

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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ArticleAsia & AmericasIMFInternational OrganisationsJordanMiddle EastOpinionUSWorld Bank
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