World Economy

EBRD Investing in West Bank, Gaza

EBRD says will provide support for private sector competitiveness and innovation.EBRD says will provide support for private sector competitiveness and innovation.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Board of Governors has approved the engagement of the EBRD in the West Bank and Gaza for an initial period of five years to support the development of the economy with investments through a trust fund.

The West Bank and Gaza are in the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean, or SEMED, region, which also includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, where the EBRD has been investing since 2012 and engaged in policy dialogue. To date, the bank has provided some €4.8 billion (5.23 billion) to these four countries alone in the form of loans and equity. Eighty percent of these investments are in the private sector, according to EBRD, reported.

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti welcomed the decision to extend the bank’s activities to the West Bank and Gaza, saying: “The EBRD can make an important contribution to the economy alongside other international financial institutions and donors. Building on the strong entrepreneurial tradition our goal is to strengthen the private sector.”

Operating in the West Bank and Gaza from the EBRD office in Amman, the bank will provide support for private sector competitiveness and innovation, increasing access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, fostering a sustainable supply of energy and promoting private sector participation in energy efficiency and infrastructure.

Azzam Shawa, governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, said: “We welcome the EBRD’s engagement in West Bank and Gaza. The bank’s financing model and policy advice could provide valuable support for private entrepreneurship and market-oriented transition in the West Bank and Gaza.”

To date, the bank has invested some €4.8 billion in 120 projects across the SEMED region in natural resources, financial institutions, agribusiness, manufacturing and services as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater and upgrading transport services.

The EBRD was established in 1991 with the goal of supporting market economies and promoting the private sector. Having started in central and eastern Europe, today the bank operates on three continents and in 36 countries, from Morocco to Mongolia and from Estonia to Egypt.

Meanwhile, the EBRD is predicting that economic growth in the region it covers will pick up moderately in 2017-18, supported by stable commodity prices, reported.

The EBRD said in its biannual economic report on May 10 that it forecast growth across the region to rise 2.4% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2018.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints