World Bank grants Jordan $70m loan to ease youth unemployment

40 percent of the country's seven million population are aged under 15

Jordanian capital, Jordan economy, Hashemite Kingdom

Jordanian capital, Jordan economy, Hashemite Kingdom

The World Bank has granted Jordan $70 million in financing to help it to extend small loans to young people in depressed rural areas that have suffered most from the country's sluggish economic growth.

With almost 40 percent of the country's seven million population aged under 15, youth unemployment is a particular problem and has almost doubled over the past decade.

There are at least 50,000 new entrants to Jordan's labour market every year.

"This loan will support the creation of much needed employment opportunities for Jordan's growing population of young people," the World Bank's Ferid Belhaj said in a statement, adding that it will also alleviate poverty and boost economic growth.

Arab uprisings in the region have held back economic growth in Jordan, hitting domestic demand and reducing the flow of cash from overseas, particular from expatriates sending money to relatives.

Jordan says its unemployment rate stands at 14 percent, but independent economists estimate that it is considerably higher.

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