The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first Jordan Digital Financial Services Forum in Amman from March 28-30, 2016. The Forum, held under the patronage of the Central Bank of Jordan, brought together industry leaders to discuss how emerging technologies and innovative digital approaches can give Jordanian businesses better opportunities to grow, develop and manage their financial livelihoods.
The three-day event will focus on ways in which Jordan can improve its digital ecosystem, explored solutions using successful global examples as benchmarks, and created partnerships between public and private sector entities to advance the development of digital financial services.
The Forum was organized by the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support (LENS) project, which works with microfinance institutions across Jordan to help micro and small enterprises access finance to help them grow and thrive.
The rapid growth of affordable mobile phones and access to internet is transforming the financial services industry in Jordan. At the end of 2015, Jordan had 5.1 million mobile phone subscribers and 70% of the population with at least one mobile subscription. Additionally, 48% of Jordanians have access to 3G and 4G mobile broadband. Meanwhile, financial inclusion significantly lags behind, with less than 25 percent of Jordanian adults, and only 15.5 percent of women, having access to a bank account.
Digital financial services presents a significant opportunity for a greater number of Jordanians to access finance previously not available, allowing them to develop their businesses, pay bills, obtain loans, receive government payments, and access insurance.
“The Central Bank of Jordan has been working diligently to set the stage and create the regulatory environment that allows banks and non-banks to participate in mobile money,” said H.E. Dr. Maher Sheikh Hasan, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, “This paves the way for new developments from a wide range of private and public sector stakeholders.”
Lewis Tatem, Deputy Mission Director for USAID/Jordan, highlighted the importance of financial inclusion in economic development: “Financial inclusion has been recognized worldwide as a critical element in policies for poverty reduction and economic growth, and has been correlated with improved incomes.”
The United States government, through USAID, has provided foreign assistance from the American people to Jordan for more than 60 years.