Jordan Kuwait Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, signed a joint cooperation agreement to support and build the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in the childcare sector, by providing financing needed to sustain and grow their operations.
The agreement was signed by Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, the IFC's Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and Haethum Buttikhi, the CEO of Jordan Kuwait Bank, and was attended by representatives from both organizations.
As per the agreement, the IFC and Jordan Kuwait Bank will collaborate to increase employment opportunities for women through supporting and enhancing childcare services in Jordan. The project is a crucial component of the new Care Arabia initiative by the IFC, which aims to increase access to early childcare services throughout the Middle East, thereby boosting women's participation in the workforce.
The IFC and Jordan Kuwait Bank aim to improve the financial eligibility of 50 small and medium-sized childcare facilities, by enhancing their financial literacy, developing their business management capabilities, and facilitating communication between the bank and service providers, particularly those that seek funding.
Furthermore, the project aims to support startups in the childcare sector by establishing an "Innovation Center" that aims to facilitate various activities, including training on investment readiness and providing tailored consultancy services to enhance business models and accelerate growth.
Expressing pride in the agreement, Haethum Buttikhi, CEO of Jordan Kuwait Bank, said, "We are proud to partner with the IFC in launching this crucial program. Our commitment to supporting this sector reflects our understanding of its importance in enhancing the role of women and empowering them through increased job opportunities, which we view as one of the bank’s key goals. This agreement is an excellent opportunity to boost and develop the capacity of small and medium-sized businesses and startups in the field of childcare, which in turn, will contribute to boosting the national economy”.Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC's Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, shared his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating that, “"Access to good childcare services means access to more opportunities to grow -- not only for women but also for societies, companies, and economies as a whole. With this in mind, we are embarking on Care Arabia, a new IFC program which aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce by improving access to childcare across the Middle East, in partnership with the government of the Netherlands and the Mashreq Gender Facility, which is supported by Canada and Norway. Today, together with JKB, who has been a great partner when it comes to sustainability initiatives, we are starting to plant the first seeds for transforming Jordan’s childcare sector, one nursery at a time.”