The King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD) was created in 2001 to encourage innovation and growth in Jordan's public and private sectors, to generate creative approaches to the challenges posed by rapid development and to help achieve a fair distribution of its benefits among the various governorates of the Kingdom.
KAFD operates as a nongovernmental organisation, based on the conviction that for development to be successful it must engage people and institutions at the grass-roots level. KAFD's three main objectives are to:
- Encourage citizens to establish business enterprises through individual assistance;
- Create governorate-level programmes that enhance productivity and contribute to improving the quality of life of residents; and
- Encourage scientific, cultural, sports, educational and social activities, to help nurture innovators, free-thinkers and well-rounded citizens.
- Non-profit development programmes and initiatives that support empowerment of citizens through education, training or rehabilitation; improve their living standards; and encourage creativity and excellence, especially among youth.
- Profitable investment projects that contribute to comprehensive development in different governorates by establishing pilot production projects that help reduce poverty and unemployment.
Over the years, KAFD has been involved in launching or administering some of the most effective and long-term development initiatives in the country.
Non-profit development programmes and initiatives:
IT Centres (Knowledge Stations)
With home Internet penetration in Jordan hovering at about three per cent, Knowledge Stations provide a place for residents who may not have ready access to computers the opportunity to learn basic technology skills and experience the benefits of living in an IT-connected world. The first Knowledge Station was established in the Al Safawi area in October 2001. Today there are 132 Knowledge Stations across the country. Tens of thousands of Jordanians of all ages and walks of life have been trained in these facilities – learning everything from how to use a mouse to advanced strategies for using ICT to enhance their businesses, obtain health-care information or participate in e-government. The stations' walk-in services also provide affordable Internet access and services like copying and faxing for many Jordanians.
Jordan Education Initiative (JEI)
JEI is a major part of Jordan's vision for the future of education, in which the top priority is to prepare students to live and work in a highly competitive, global, knowledge-based economy. With a hundred Discovery Schools now operational across the country, the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) is an internationally recognised programme to integrate technology with education in ways that help students learn more, faster, and come away with a broader experience of the world. The programme was launched at the 2003 World Economic Forum as a public-private partnership between the Kingdom and Cisco Systems. Today, its ambitious e-learning curriculum is poised to become an educational model for the entire region.
- IT training and rehabilitation for retired military staff
- Scholarships for financially-needy high-achieving students at public universities
- Scholarships for postgraduate studies at prestigious universities worldwide
- Preparing young people to enter the labour market through career counseling offices at Jordanian universities
- Encouraging scientific research and creativity among youth, through support for university students’ projects and for registering patents, in collaboration with King Abdullah II Centre for Design and Development
- Supporting the participation of youth in activities at home and abroad and their involvement in international cultural exchange and dialogue programmes
- Establishing the We Are All Jordan Youth Commission and the opening of its offices in the 12 governorates of the Kingdom
- A media platform for Jordanian youth through the television programme, “Our Talk”
- Hosting and supporting international conferences such as the World Economic Forum and the Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates
- Middle East Science Fund to support scientific projects in the Middle East, launched by King Abdullah II during the Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates
- King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement, which recognizes, celebrates and supports young Arab leaders who are “active citizens” in their communities
Profitable investment projects:
The National Microfinance Bank
Poverty is a cycle, and many people are trapped in it simply by lack of access to the credit and financial resources the wealthy take for granted. The National Microfinance Bank (NMB) was created to help those people, and to further the anti-poverty vision of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. Based on the groundbreaking strategies developed by Nobel Prize-winner Mohammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the NMB provides small loans and financial services in low-income sectors of society and helps its beneficiaries use those resources to save money, create new enterprises and escape from poverty. Ten NMB branches serve people across the country.
The Integrated Olive Products Company
Nearly 60 per cent of the income of Ajloun Governorate comes from olive farming. In order to help optimise the capacity and profitability of this local industry, KAFD took a role in creating a pioneering agricultural project that links the public and private sectors to create, package and distribute olive oil under the brand name Jordan's Treasure. Locally, the project creates jobs and promotes development, while globally it helps develop Jordan's olive oil sector and enhance its competitiveness in overseas markets.
Jordan Training Technology Group (Rubicon)
KAFD's partnership with the private shareholding company Rubicon has been a success on many fronts. It has helped create previously unprecedented opportunities for Jordanians in the fields of software and animation. Rubicon has created Arabic educational software of the highest international quality, which is now being used in Jordanian schools, particularly as part of the Jordan Education Initiative. The company continues to break ground and create new markets for Jordanian products worldwide. Chief among these is the animated series “Ben & Izzy,” which has won international distribution from MGM Studios. Rubicon's expert animators are now also coproducing MGM's new series “The Pink Panther and Friends.”
- Tourism related projects like the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, which hosts global and regional conferences, and the new Samara and Dead Sea Resort projects
- South Company for Construction and Development, launched by the King in Maan Governorate, to develop new economic zones
- King Hussein Institute for Cancer and Biotechnology Research for which the King laid the foundation stone in March 2008