Call for Solutions – Jordan
Deadline: 15 March 2021 (17:00 CET, Dutch Time)
CFYE strives to disrupt the employment status quo for Jordanian youth. We are calling for innovative private-sector-led solutions that create, improve, or match decent work for youth in Jordan, with a focus on women in particular. Any Jordan specific questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our scoping study enabled us to identify key opportunities for impact on youth employment in Jordan in the short to medium term. Recognizing Jordan’s status as a country with a relatively low population (10.5 million) and a private sector that predominantly consists of micro-enterprises, we do not intend to limit the scope of CFYE projects to particular sectors.
Solutions presented should always show a clear pathway to job creation or improvement, whether the focus is on improving the supply of labor, creating more labor demand, or matching youth to decent jobs. Below are our guidelines for applicants to take into consideration while designing their ideas.
Call for Solutions
Implementing Partners’ solutions could focus on:
1. Creating new jobs: The below are examples of key areas of impact under “create”. Project ideas that fall outside the scope outlined below will also be considered.
- Medium-skilled jobs in growth sectors: Implementing partners’ solutions on creating new jobs in these sectors may focus on, for example, creating work opportunities in the industrial sector which have a managerial or technical focus, to make them more attractive to youth. Financial institutions could consider providing access to finance for SMEs with direct causality of job creation & incentivizing the hiring of Jordanian youth.
- Export promotion (in particular, in the services sector) as an engine for growth: Job creation in large numbers can be more realistically achieved if firms export their products and services to overseas markets. We welcome ideas to develop or enhance the export-readiness of SMEs to fuel demand and thereby increase jobs available locally.
- Digitization across sectors: Capitalizing on the value of Jordan’s human capital and geographic advantage, the government is making a concerted effort towards creating efficiencies through digitization across sectors. The COVID19 pandemic has accelerated this process and clearly demonstrated that the more technologically integrated firms are, the more resilient they will be to external shocks.
- Franchising models: This business model in particular– regardless of sector – has large potential for job creation and is a viable source of distribution and long-term growth of a company. For youth inclined towards self-employment, it is a practical way to minimize the risks of owning and operating a business while at the same time “being your own boss.” At the same time, working with agents will give companies exposure to their market.
2. Matching jobs: Twenty-six percent of unemployed Jordanians are university (or higher qualified) graduates. At the same time, employers are hard-pressed to find suitable candidates for entry-level positions. Anecdotal evidence through conversations with key informants shows that employers prefer that youth are strong in transferrable and soft skills including leadership, time management, organization, and business writing, and are willing to train on technical aspects on-the-job. We welcome ideas that promote allocation efficiency in the job market, particularly focusing on connecting youth with jobs.
3. Improving jobs: Solutions in this category will particularly focus on blue-collar jobs in the industrial or agricultural sector, aimed at improving the decency or quality of jobs that youth are currently employed in. This category will also include interventions designed to sustain existing jobs that are at risk of being lost due to Covid control measures or other market factors. Solutions should be focusing on several of the following aspects:
- Living income/wage
- Security in the workplace
- Social protection for families
- Prospects for personal development and social integration
- Equality of opportunity and treatment
We prioritise projects in certain sectors as holding the most potential for creating decent work for youth, with a focus on young women. While all sectors will be considered, our prioritised sectors are:
1. Service sectors: Jordan’s economy is dominated by a strong services sector in terms of both, contribution to GDP and employment.
- ICT: Jordan is moving away from seeing ICT as an isolated sector and towards digitizing the entire Jordanian economy. Highest revenue in the ICT sector comes from software, internet, mobile apps & games development.
- Tourism: High potential lies in providing jobs to youth once borders reopen. Women make up 30% of hospitality jobs, and there is potential to improve their participation. Tourism jobs can also employ youth in the South, in important cities such as Aqaba and Petra.
- Health Services: Jordan is emerging as a desirable location for investment in health and wellness in the MENA region. This includes medical and spa tourism, pharmaceutical industry, bio-medical research and production, medical equipment sales, and wellness products from the Dead Sea.
- Education: This sector is a large employer of women. While the pandemic has brought a significant disruption to this sector, there has been a boon in technology companies that require highly-skilled youth to implement ed-tech solutions
- Financial Services: The financial services sector is one of the most robust and mature in Jordan, remaining resilient in the face of significant external volatility and retaining its role as a driver of economic growth
2. Industrial Sectors: In 2017, the industrial sector—led by mining and quarrying— contributed 24.7% of GDP. The sector is also an important employer; in the first half of 2016, it was estimated that this sector employed 221,518 workers.
- Manufacturing: is considered one of the most important sectors in Jordan. Key manufacturing exports include garments and textiles, pharmaceutical products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, minerals and plastic products.
- Construction: Jordan needs to substantially increase its infrastructure to accommodate the surge in population. School infrastructure, hospital facilities and housing are all required.
- Transportation: Jordan prioritizes investments for new transport and logistics infrastructure in the port city of Aqaba. Upgrading public transport to ensure a predictable and affordable network will ensure positive spill-over effects on economic activity as well as improve accessibility between governorates and growth areas.
3. Agriculture: Food security challenges during the pandemic have emphasized the importance of this sector, and the government has declared it the sector of 2020. The agriculture sector has been growing and has doubled its share of GDP from 2 to 5% in the past 5 years, mainly driven by domestic demand. Capitalizing on new agricultural technologies such as hydroponic systems as well as digitizing the input and output of agricultural decision-making would strongly enhance the efficiency of this sector in Jordan, and impact exports and their quality as well. Agri-tech will captivate the interest of the youth due to innovation and the use of technology. This sector can absorb thousands of jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled labor, particularly women, in the Jordan valley.
The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment will apply a competitive process to select the projects that will receive a grant. That means that only those projects that present a clear and convincing pathway to employment, lead to significant and sustainable results in terms of decent employment for youth, with a focus on young women, and can demonstrate high leverage will be selected.