DAI Board Member Marwan Juma to Headline Tent Foundation Panel on Jordan Refugee Response

May 07, 2018

marwan-juma_web-e7b89b.jpg DAI Board Member Marwan Juma, Jordan’s former Minister of Information and Communications Technology, will lead a Tent Foundation panel on May 11 showcasing Jordan’s innovative response to the Syrian refugee crisis. The panel, “Mobilizing Business on the Frontline: Jordan Case Study,” is part of a series hosted by the New York City foundation, which is led by Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya.

“I’m honored to be a part of this critical and timely discussion,” Juma said. “Through its many programs in Jordan, DAI has indeed been at the frontlines of the Syria response, and we are eager to share what we’ve learned with our partners at Tent and beyond.”

DAI recently published a white paper outlining a path forward for donors to support economic development in Jordan with the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Recommendations cover sectors including the natural environment, such as developing energy and managing scarce water resources, and the policy environment, and measures to promote job growth and e-government initiatives such as online citizen services. The paper also discusses ways to develop Jordan’s workforce and promote small businesses through employment services and firm-level technical assistance.

Juma is optimistic about Jordan’s ability to manage the effects of an influx of more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees since 2011. He points to success in areas such as education, where the Jordanian Ministry of Education reports that 126,000 Syrian refugee children were newly enrolled in public or nongovernmental organization-run schools in the 2016–17 academic year. “This is a considerable improvement, with demonstrable results in the lives of children and their families,” Juma said. “However, in the context of a country with steeply rising public debt, much more is needed.”

In particular, Juma sees opportunities for Jordan to transform the crisis into an economic opportunity over the long term, in part by taking advantage of simplified export requirements to the European Union, which were put in place in response to the Syria crisis. Although the new trade scheme has yet to yield significant returns, Juma says that viewing refugees as contributors to economic growth—not just beneficiaries of short-term relief—aligns with Jordan’s five-year Economic Growth Plan published this year.

This approach also aligns with the values of the Tent Foundation, which encourages companies to “leverage their core business operations to hire refugees, integrate them into supply chains, invest in refugees, and deliver services to them.” Founded in 2015, the Tent Foundation mobilizes the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of the more than 20 million men, women, and children forcibly displaced from their homes.

DAI’s recent work in Jordan includes U.S. Agency for International Development programs in business competitiveness, workforce development, and national fiscal reform and public financial management.



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