Palestine: #TeamEurope – EIB and Vitas Palestine support micro entrepreneurs with a USD 3.3 million top-up loan

(Source: European Investment Bank)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a financing contract of USD 3.3 million with Vitas Palestine to finance micro entrepreneurs in the West Bank and Gaza. The EIB financing comes in the framework of Team Europe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new financing would allow supporting about 1,237 micro-entrepreneur, of which 30% are women.

The new financing is a top-up of the USD 5 million financing agreement signed in December 2017 to support the Palestinian microfinance sector. It aims at improving the resilience of the microfinance sector to cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Werner Hoyer, the EIB President, said: “Small and medium companies account for 95% of the Palestinian economy and play a vital role in creating and safeguarding employment, especially for young people and women. This comprehensive package will enhance access to much-needed financial support for Palestinian private sector in the midst of the current, unprecedented crisis. As the EU Bank and a key contributor to Team Europe, we value our partnership with local intermediaries who will implement the schemes with us.”

Mr. Alaa Sisalem, CEO of Vitas Palestine added “Vitas Palestine cherishes this continuous relationship with the EIB through which we will be able to fulfill our clients’ needs during this Pandemic difficult situation and we do like to thank the EIB for their continuous support to the microfinance sector in General and to Vitas Palestine and their role specially in developing an enabling economic environment for    entrepreneurs and focusing on women empowerment”.

The European Union Representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff said: “Six months after the first meeting of the EU-Palestine Investment Platform, I am very pleased to witness today a historic signature ceremony dedicating support to the Palestinian private sector with an unprecedented amount of finance and through innovative instruments. This support comes in a period when Palestine is going through a difficult time and it demonstrates that in spite of the many challenges Palestine does offer viable business opportunities worth investing in. This package of financing will contribute to strengthening the Palestinian economy, contributing to economic independence, prosperity and welfare.“ 

The financing contract was signed under the Southern Neighborhood Microfinance Facility (SNMF) – a EUR 71.3 million lending facility which supports investments in microfinance markets in Southern Neighborhood countries. The facility blends EIB’s own resources with the European Commission resources under the Neighborhood Investment Facility.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of the leading development finance players in the Mediterranean region. The Bank’s goal is to support economic and social development by improving people’s living conditions. EIB aims to establish a tangible presence in the partner countries, focusing on the economic and social priorities of the beneficiary countries to which it not only contributes its financing capacity but also adds value in project implementation and modernisation of public policies through its technical and financial expertise and advisory services.

The Risk Capital Facility for the Southern Neighbourhood provides access to equity and debt financing to MSMEs in the Mediterranean region in order to support private sector development, inclusive growth and private sector job creation. It is set up by the European Commission and EIB, builds on the success of the ENPI -FEMIP Risk Capital mandate 2007-2013 which was fully deployed despite the unprecedented geopolitical turmoil in the target region.

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