Barnhart: Jordan is the second largest beneficiary country, after Afghanistan, receiving assistance from USAID.
Amman – Under the patronage of HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) and with the attendance of high-profile economic and education leaders in Jordan, the Economic Policy Development Forum hosted Dr. Jim Barnhart, USAID Mission Director for Jordan in a discussion session held at Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh expressed gratitude to Dr. Barnhart, and stressed on the important role played by the USAID in supporting and developing economic and education sectors over the years in Jordan.
Dr. Barnhart thanked Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh for the invitation, and noted that the partnership between the US and Jordan has existed for more than six decades, and that the USAID programs provided by the US have been in Jordan since 1957.
He stated that Jordan is the second largest country, after Afghanistan, that benefits from assistance provided by the USAID. He added that there are programs that cover green energy, Information and Communications Technology, tourism, financial reforms, and most notably education, which includes creativity, higher education, and teacher training. He also noted that the USAID focuses on the areas of the south and Maan in particular.
Dr. Barnhart added that Jordan is currently facing a new crisis, the presence of the Syrian refugees that exhausted Jordan’s various sectors and resources which made it necessary to implement new developing programs, such as the contribution in increasing the number of classrooms in order to accommodate refugee students.
He also reviewed various programs provided by the USAID which include family health, encouraging women to participate in the labor market, providing training on leadership to reach top positions for women in public sector, education through practice, developing the capacity of teachers, and cooperating with the Vocational Training Corporation to train workforce.
He stated that the USAID previously made mistakes by focusing on supply rather than demand with respect to developing youth capacity, but now it has changed its working pattern, and is currently seeking to work with a number of Chambers of Commerce in the Kingdom in order to link job seekers with available opportunities.
He added that tourism is one of the main sectors that contributes in the gross national income, therefore USAID, is cooperating with marketing companies to work on developing tourism and promoting touristic sites, beside working on SMEs issues, and linking companies with potential markets.
With respect to Maan, Dr. Barnhart stated that the USAID is focusing on training, and cooperating with vocational training centers in the fields of solar energy and loan financing for small enterprises.
He noted that the work of the USAID has a significant impact on Jordan, and has made some reforms pointing out the impact of the economic crisis of 2008 on Jordan, and the refugees’ crisis that followed. He made it clear that the USAID’s main goal is to work in the field of development.
During the session, participants called for focusing on programs that help Jordan achieve sustainable economic sufficiency.