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Enabling Business Environment and Private Sector Mobilization: Jordan, Sarhan Municipality; Partnerships with the Private Sector for Business Creation

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Feb 15, 2019 / 0 Comments

The project has created a diversified local economy within the craft area, to train and upgrade the skills of youth to work in the various businesses working in the area.



Lead Authority or Organization:  Municipality of Sarhan

Area: Sarhan, Jordan

Beneficiaries: Jordanian and Syrian women and youth, private entrepreneurs, the municipality of Sarhan

Timeline: January 2017 - Ongoing

Human Resources: 10 people to supervise and monitor implementation

Funding Amount: $700,000

Sources of Funding: World Bank (Emergency Services and Social Resilience Project), Kuwait Fund, Sarhan Municipality


Context & Challenge

The Municipality of Sarhan suffers from a high unemployment rate up to 45% in the local community, especially among youth and women. Moreover, the local economy is weak and relies on the governmental and agricultural sectors. Due to the dependence of the local economy on jobs in the public sector, agriculture and livestock, a main challenge has been the absence of an area for doing business and vocational training center to upgrade labor skills in the sectors of handicraft and light industries (carpentry, blacksmithing, brick and tile making, mechanics and car maintenance, etc.). This issue was exacerbated by the crisis of Syrian refugee flows and the settlement of a large number of refugees due to its position near the Syrian border, the similarity of customs and traditions, and the existence of family ties. The proportion of refugees reached nearly one quarter of the population, with 6,000 refugees—mostly youth, workers, and skilled craftsmen competing with Jordanian citizens on job opportunities. This caused tensions between Sarhan host community and Syrian refugees. This situation prompted the municipality to find ways to create enough job opportunities for all, by encouraging the private sector to invest in the Municipality of Sarhan.


In response to the sharp rise in unemployment and decreasing standards of living, the Municipality established partnerships with private companies and Syrian entrepreneurs to benefit from the presence of skilled Syrian refugees. It created a more diversified local economy that provides enough job opportunities, including for women and youth.



Actions & Reported Results

The project went through the following steps:


  • Preliminary studies.
  • Consultations with the local community (citizens and refugees) to ensure their acceptance and support of the project.
  • Communication with the necessary public authorities to request approval to  proceed with the project.
  • Financing: The municipality reached out to donor agencies and organizations to finance the project (including under the Municipal Services and Social Resilience Project, administered by the World Bank).
  • Job creation: Creation of a garments sewing factory (satellite factory for an international company) through partnership with the private sector and with support from the World Bank’s Emergency Services and Social Resilience Project. A pickles factory was established by selling municipal land to a Syrian investor. 
  • Training and business incentives: A craft area for doing business as well as a vocational center (15,000 m2) are currently under construction.


Reported Results

  • Improved economic situation: By providing new jobs and a suitable place for businessmen to work, the project has helped attract investments and expand the creation of new crafts and trades local economic sectors. Thanks to its scale economy, it also helped providing job opportunities in the sector of transport and other services, as well as increasing the growth of the local economy. The project led to the creation of over 400 direct job opportunities, over 20 indirect job opportunities, together with the reduction of the poverty level in the local community (citizens and refugees) and improved living standards. In addition, the new craft area will lead to the creation of over 250 direct and 100 indirect job opportunities for citizens and refugees. Finally, private investments in municipal land provided the municipality with a new source of income, which helps establish additional projects.
  • Increased economic participation and training for women and youth: The creation of a clothing factory led to economic and social empowerment of women, increasing their participation in the local labor market. Moreover, the training center will improve young people’s marketable skills.
  • Increased refugee socio-economic inclusion and sustained livelihoods: The project has created more jobs for Syrians and Jordanians, giving refugees the opportunity to receive a stable source of income, supporting their social and economic integration.
  • Improved urban services: Plants and factories have been relocated outside the city center, resulting in a cleaner environment for residents.



Evidence and Beneficiary Feedback

The project has had a positive impact on inhabitants. It provided a stable source of income to Jordanian and Syrian women through the provision of job opportunities and their economic and social empowerment. According to feedback and comments from beneficiaries given during consultations, the project also helped reduce family dissolution rates. An economic monitoring study also showed that the project injects $70,000 per month in salaries into the local economy, leading to the creation of other economic opportunities and to increasing local business traffic. 



Lessons Learned


Challenges & Risks

  • Complying with the timeframe to obtain government approvals.
  • Ensuring good preparation and presentation of project to obtain funding and convince private investors.
  • Ensuring wide access, given its important role for success.
  • Attention to the role of media in making the project a success.


Key Ingredients of Success

  • Presence of many supporting partners and stakeholders, the local community, citizens and refugees, which brought significant support to project progress.
  • Availability of the necessary labor among refugees and citizens.
  • Presence of private investors as strategic partners.


Innovative Aspects

  • Partnering with private investors.
  • Focusing on women and youth to economically and socially empower them and benefit from their potential by creating jobs for young women in the clothing factory.
  • Benefitting from some municipal resources (land and buildings).
  • Providing a source of income for the municipality to establish additional projects.





The creation of the clothing factory was complemented with the establishment of a craft area and vocational training center in partnership with private investors, currently in the final stage of implementation. After a preliminary study, this project will be soon expanded to include sectors other than crafts and industrial trades in the craft area.




  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs
  • Ministry of Labour
  • The World Bank
  • Kuwait Fund (for the craft area)
  • The local community including refugees and citizens, through meetings and consultations for assessing needs. The presence of the local community also helped convincing additional partners to adopt the project.


This post is part of a series of case-studies published in the CMI 2018 Refugees' Compendium and featuring host communities experiences in hosting refugees with relation to local economic development. The information in-here was provided by focal points in the relevant institutions, NGOs, local governments, etc


Read the story on the compendium 


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