The World Bank plans to announce substantial new funds to help Jordan cope with the influx of refugees from the civil war in neighboring Syria, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told Reuters on Tuesday.
“There will be significant amounts of new funding going to Jordan in the very near future to deal with this crisis,” he said in an interview, shortly after making a speech at the U.N. World Health Assembly in Geneva.
Jordan is one of Syria’s four immediate neighbors, along with Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, inundated with refugees fleeing the two-year old conflict in Syria. Of more than the 1.5 million refugees, almost one-third, are in Jordan.
The United Nations has warned the numbers could triple by the end of the year.
“With Jordan, they are the first ones who have come and just asked me directly for increased assistance and we’ve said yes,” Kim said.
“So we are using all of our flexibilities to try to increase our lending to them at very low rates so they will be able to respond to the humanitarian crisis.”
Kim was speaking on the eve of a visit to Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, which he will make together with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. They later hope to visit the Sahel region in North Africa, Kim said.
The World Bank will announce new funding during the African trip, but the money will be contingent on countries abiding by a peace deal brokered by the United Nations in February.
“The whole idea is that we’re trying to connect political, security and economic solutions,” Kim said.