EBRD supports small businesses in West Bank and Gaza

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • US$ 3 million EBRD loan to Vitas Palestine
  • Funds for on-lending to local businesses in the West Bank and Gaza
  • Technical assistance for credit risk management, digitalisation assessment, anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the West Bank and Gaza with a US$ 3 million SME credit line to Vitas Palestine, a microfinance institution incorporated in the West Bank and Gaza since 1995.

MSMEs in the West Bank and Gaza represent a substantial segment of the local economy. Their access to finance remains limited and is now more important than ever, particularly to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the loan, Vitas Palestine will benefit from an EBRD technical assistance package, financed by the EBRD’s West Bank and Gaza Trust Fund, as well as the EBRD’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the West Bank and Gaza.

This support will help Vitas Palestine to enhance its risk management function and will provide a digitalisation assessment to support the institution’s efforts in scaling up its digitalisation of the loan process. It will also assess and provide training on the quality of measures in place to prevent money laundering and on how to counter the financing of terrorism.

Vitas Palestine is today the second-largest microfinance institution in the West Bank and Gaza with 10 branches.

Vitas Palestine’s core mission focuses on expanding MSME lending, particularly to smaller clients and businesses that are underserved by banks, as well as to women, who represent 20 per cent of the company’s portfolio.

Since the start of its operations in the West Bank and Gaza in May 2017, the EBRD has signed 15 projects for a total of US$ 64 million.

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