ABJ and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and cooperation to confirm and frame the partnership and cooperation between the two sides.

The memorandum was signed by ABJ director general, Dr. Maher Al-Mahrouq and on behalf of the organization, the director of the Population, Gender Justice and Comprehensive Development Group at ESCWA, Mehrinaz Al-Awadi.

This memorandum comes with the aim of cooperation between ABJ and ESCWA in many fields especially research and development of women’s lending practices by banks in Jordan in addition to business-related lending. The partnership depends on ESCWA’s regional presence and research activities in the field of women’s entrepreneurship and access to finance as well as on ABJ distinguished role and research activities as a representative of the banking sector in Jordan.

The MOU included many aspects of cooperation including preparing a joint technical paper on businesswomen and their opportunities to own land and real estate in the Arab region through a case study of Jordan. The association will cooperate with ESCWA, in accordance with the MOU, in reviewing the list of indicators and data required of banks and prepared by ESCWA making any observations or amendments thereto, circulating these indicators to banks, following up on obtaining bank’s responses and sharing the overall results with ESCWA leading to the final report on women’s lending practices and business-related lending. As for ESCWA, it is in charge of developing the conceptual framework, analyzing data, coordinating the research process, including reaching out to other partners to unify efforts in this endeavour, defining a list of indicators and data related to banks in Jordan, coordinating with various partners for the purpose of collecting the required quantitative and qualitative data, preparing the first draft of the technical paper, overseeing the inclusion of relevant comments, completion of the technical paper and processing of editing, translation and design.

ABJ and ESCWA will continue to explore possible areas of cooperation in the field of women’s rights, gender equality and various other aspects of common interest.

For his part, the Director General of ABJ said that the association aims by signing this memorandum to enhance the national efforts made for the economic empowerment of women in Jordan in general and the efforts made by ABJ specifically in terms of increasing women’s access to financial services, increasing their economic participation and decreasing the gender gap. Dr. Al-Mahrouq expressed his thanks to the Central Bank of Jordan for the great measures it has taken to target the financial inclusion of women which is also visible in the national strategy for financial inclusion.

Al-Mahrouq indicated that the women empowerment is of great interest to banks which is reflected in the high rates of female employment in the banking sector compared to the general average in Jordan in addition to women in banks assuming leadership and advanced positions let alone that they constitute a major segment of bank clients. He added that banks are keen to provide financial products and services specifically for women on easy terms.

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