World Bank steps up MENA programme to $3.7bn in light of migrant crises

The World Bank Group has increased funding for its programme in the Middle East to $3.7 billion in 2016/17 from $3.5 billion in 2015/16 and $2 billion in 2011/12, the president of the bank told the press Thursday.

The bank also mobilised extensive resources to support countries neighbouring Syria, said Jim Yong Kim ahead of the annual IMF-World Bank meetings held in Lima, Peru on 8-11 October.

“The migration of Syrian and Libyan refugees to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, reflected negatively on the local economies there, which exacerbated crises of poverty and unemployment while adding pressure on these countries’ budgets,” he said.

Ongoing conflicts in Syria have lead more than four million Syrians to seek refuge outside the country with almost half of them in Turkey, one million in Lebanon, around 628,000 in Jordan and around 130,000 in Egypt, according to the UN.

In his speech, Kim pointed to the benefit of the demographic “realities” where richer populations are contracting and poorer populations are growing.

“An influx of working-age refugees or migrants into a country with an ageing population can ultimately reap benefits for everyone,” he added.

Kim also stressed the World Bank’s continuing plan to cut extreme poverty to 10 percent from 20 percent and eventually eradicate it by 2030.

Source: Ahram Online

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