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CBJ signs agreements to expand financial inclusion

July 28, 2020
banking

Amman, July 27 (Petra) -- The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) on Monday signed a grant agreement with the Middle East Payment Services company (MEPS) to fund the digitization of payments for the Military Consumer Establishment.

The agreement was co-inked by Deputy Governor of the CBJ, Maher 'Sheikh Hasan' and Ali Abduljabar, the CEO of MPES, in the presence of the guest of honor Assistant Chief of the Jordanian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Salman Nei’mat.

The agreement aims to digitize payments for all the beneficiaries of the Military Consumer Establishment and army personnel and retired beneficiaries (estimated at 300,000-500,000) using digital wallets, and will distribute smart POS machines, QR enabled, on all MCE branches in the Kingdom to support digital payments. MEPs will implement the project.

Assistant Chief of the Jordanian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Salman Nei’mat commended the partnership and emphasized JAF's role in supporting digitization and development efforts in the Kingdom.

Also, the CBJ signed another fund agreement with the World Food Program (WFP) and MEPS to develop a digital platform to digitize payments of the WFP beneficiaries, Jordanians and refugees, and enable digital payments at the WFP merchant network through digital wallets for beneficiaries.

Deputy Governor of the CBJ Maher 'Sheikh Hasan' said that the financing these projects is based on the mandate of the bank in supporting economic growth and enhancing financial inclusion in the Kingdom, including digital financial inclusion and digitization of payments through the Mobile Money for Resilience (MM4R) Initiative.

The MM4R is a fund sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was launched by the CBJ in 2018 in order to enable the private sector to digitize cash transfer programs and develop digital financial services to serve Jordanians and refugees in Jordan.

Sarah Gordon, the WFP Representative in Jordan expressed her gratitude for this partnership and said it will help provide access to digital financial services to low income Jordanians and refugees, and to provide them with the right tools to enhance their quality of living.

Furthermore, representatives from other projects that received funds previously from the Mobile Money for Resilience (MM4R) Initiative presented their projects and progress in creating use cases for digital payments. Yazan Abdo, CEO of Sharek Educational Consulting Company, gave a briefing about 'Souq JO' which is an e-commerce platform that provides an interactive environment for small merchants, craftsmen, housewives, and home owned businesses to market and sell their products electronically, in addition to build their capacity in using digital payment solutions.

Bisher Sammak, CEO of Armstrong Investments, highlighted 'Tanda' application that provides ROSCA services digitally over digital wallets, which provides a digital saving platform.

Imad Iyoun, CEO of Dinarak, presented a brief on projects that are funded through the MM4R initiative like; digitizing Cash Transfer Programs provided by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to beneficiaries mainly refugees; to digitize social payments provided by the National Aid Fund (NAF)and; to provide revolving loans for water saving technologies for farmers in Irbid, Ajloun, Jerash, and Azraq, a fund to support the agricultural sector through digital wallets with Mercy Corps.

In alignment with the global transformation towards a digital economy, and to support efforts in digitizing payments in Jordan, the CBJ has launched a challenge fund titled ' COVID -19 Response Challenge Fund' to encourage accepting digital payments through the digital wallets. The fund provides incentives to PSPs, merchants, and users to shift from using cash to digital wallets for merchants.

Six Payment Service Providers (Zain Cash, Orange Money, Dinarak, Aya, MEPs, Gadha) formed a consortium and submitted one application to benefit from the Fund. Raed Fariz, the Payments Service Providers’ representative, highlighted the PSPs’ plans and activities to expand digital payments acceptance at merchants all over the Kingdom and incentivize them to accept digital payments through digital wallets via (QR Code) technology.

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