IFC is helping improve sanitation services for nearly a million Palestinians by advising West Bank authorities on how to include the private sector in the operational structure of a new sanitary landfill.
Olive cultivation is the backbone of West Bank agriculture, accounting for 50 percent of farmed land. More than 100,000 Palestinian families are directly, or indirectly, involved in olive farming. To spur growth in this sector, IFC is working closely
Helping conflict-affected areas is one of IFC’s strategic priorities. IFC has tailored its services and investments in the West Bank and Gaza to meet the needs of a sometimes fast-changing business environment. IFC’s strategy is to work with local companies, mainly through IFC Advisory Services, to increase capacity and financing ability, and enable commercial viability given the difficult business environment. We also strive to increase access to finance in order to develop business and job opportunities, particularly through investing and legislative reform.
Investments In fiscal year 2012, IFC committed $138 million, including mobilization of $75 million, in the territories. IFC’s overall investment portfolio is $188 million. IFC began ramping up its program in the West Bank and Gaza in FY08, and in fiscal year 2011, we committed almost $22 million in West Bank and Gaza, including almost $14 million under IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program to two Palestinian banks. Some highlights include:
A $125 million financing package for Wataniya Mobile Palestine to aid in making mobile services more accessible and affordable in the West Bank and Gaza;
A $3 million loan to Palestine for Credit and Development—known as Faten—a leading microfinance institution; and
A$ 5 million in equity investment in Wataniya, the second mobile operator in the Palestinian Territories.
In West Bank and Gaza, IFC is engaged in several advisory services activities to increase access to finance and support the development of small and medium enterprises. We have:
Consulted on a public-private partnership to build a landfill in the West Bank that will serve almost 800,000 people;
Helped creating a legislative framework to develop the leasing sector;
Launched a microfinance market study of the West Bank and Gaza to highlight the market characteristics and critical issues that need attention to create a vibrant microfinance sector. IFC also assisted Al Rafah Microfinance Bank by conducting a needs assessment and strategic review of the bank's existing business strategy to encourage operational and financial sustainability;
Supported a group of olive oil bottling and processing firms to enhance their performance in export markets by providing assistance in production management and export marketing;
Worked with the Capital Markets Authority in drafting the corporate governance code in the West Bank and Gaza; and
Provided Bank of Palestine with risk management advice and assistance on corporate governance issues.
We’ve also launched several region-wide initiatives expected to address long-term challenges. They include:
The Middle East and North Africa SME Facility, which is expected to channel $550 million and a host of advisory services to smaller businesses over the next five years;
The Arab Financing Facility for Infrastructure (AFFI) in partnership with the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank to provide access to long-tenor financing for infrastructure projects;
The e4e Initiative for Arab Youth, which aims to create private education programs tailored to the needs of the job market; and
The MENA Fund, which will help to boost investor confidence and support capital markets in the region.