July 29, 2014
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdulla Ensour
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Jordan July 18-20, following his visits to Morocco and Tunisia. During his stay, he held talks with key figures including Prime Minister Abdulla Ensour, and visited the sites of JICA projects.
On July 19, Tanaka paid a courtesy visit to Ensour in the Jordanian capital of Amman. At the beginning of the talks, Tanaka touched on the idea that Jordan, surrounded by Palestine, Iraq and Syria, plays an important role for the stability of the Middle East. He said JICA will continue to carry out and study such possible assistance as improvement and repair of existing facilities in the northern water sector for the stability of the Middle East and to lessen the burden on the government of Jordan and host communities accepting refugees. And he said he was pleased to hear that a national museum built as a Japanese ODA loan project will have its grand opening in September.
Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, at a Syrian refugee camp
After his talks with Ensour, Tanaka visited the Syrian refugee camp Zaatari in Jordan and the Palestinian refugee camp Baqa, also in Jordan. At the Syrian refugee camp, Andrew Harper, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) representative in Jordan, explained the situation surrounding Syrian refugees to Tanaka, and Tanaka observed the activities of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers providing assistance to refugee children through music, art, sports and other activities. And at the Palestinian refugee camp, he visited the site of a project aiming to improve the livelihoods of refugee women as well as the home of a woman raising her income by selling perfume she makes at home.
On July 20, in talks with Umayya Toukan, minister of Finance, and Al-Kharabsheh, secretary general for Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Tanaka talked about how JICA provided co-financing with the World Bank in March for the Fiscal Consolidation Development Policy Loan (DPL, 12 billion yen). In response, his counterparts requested assistance relating to the issuance of sukuk (bonds that meet the tenets of Islamic finance), one of the Jordanian side's objective of this DPL.
After his talks with Al-Kharabsheh, the two men held a joint news conference to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the start of Japanese-Jordanian diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the start of economic cooperation between the two countries. At the news conference they issued a joint press release summarizing JICA's support to Jordan so far and spreading information about Japan's contributions within Jordan.
During his stay in Jordan, Tanaka also discussed with experts and volunteers their activities on the ground before departing for Japan on July 20.