International Development Secretary Rory Stewart visits Jordan in first foreign visit

Jordan Solar Farm

Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart at a solar farm in Jordan

On Monday (July 1 2019), the Secretary of State visited UK aid funded programmes and met with Jordan’s Prime Minister Dr Omar Razzaz.

He was given a tour of one of the country’s largest solar power field, Solar Power One, which is helping the country move away from dependence on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.

The visitor also spoke to families in Za’atari refugee camp who had been forced to flee their homes in Syria during the war. While there, he was shown how UK-made iris scanning technology was improving the efficiency of a cash support programme so refugees can shop for a large variety of goods, which brings a sense of normality and dignity to their life.

The Department for International Development has pledged to give £55 million to support refugees in Jordan over three years. This will provide financial assistance to 22,000 of the most vulnerable refugees caught up in the protracted crisis. The UK aid support is helping to create stability in the wider region.

During his meeting with Dr Razzaz, the International Development Secretary reaffirmed the importance of the UK-Jordan Partnership announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in November 2017. This involves the UK supporting Jordan’s ambitious programme of reforms, including on its economy and energy sector.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said of his first overseas visit in his role:

“I can think of no better example than Jordan anywhere in the world where Britain is working so well with another country. It’s the work we do with refugees that I saw in Za’atari camp. It’s about helping Jordan’s economy grow and young unemployed Jordanians find work. It’s about helping create security and stability in one of the most fragile regions of the world.

“Then there’s the work we are funding around tackling climate change, including the solar farm I saw, which is helping to drive growth in a country which is trying to move away from fossil fuels and become a world leader in green, renewable energy

“Jordan has made these impressive reforms whilst on the frontline of tackling the Syria crisis, showing immense generosity by hosting millions of Syrian refugees. We will continue to support Jordan, which remains a critical friend and important ally that is vital for regional stability.

“The British public should be proud of our partnership with Jordan. We are helping create prosperity, stability and a cleaner climate in Jordan, which will benefit the wider region, and ultimately the UK as well.”

The Secretary of State’s visit follows the Jordan: Growth and Prosperity Conference in London in February, which rallied the international community behind Jordan’s own ambitious plans for economic growth. It also made a breadth of UK expertise available to the Government of Jordan to support their plan for wide-ranging reforms.

During his visit this week The International Development Secretary also met with Hala Zawati, Minister of Energy, and Dr Mohamad Al Ississ, Minister for Planning and International Coordination, and Minister of State for Economic Affairs.

Before arriving in Jordan he also attended the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting.

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