European and Palestinian institutions today signed investment and financing agreements worth €80 million.
The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the first EU-Palestine Business Forum, which was held in Ramallah, in the presence of Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian and European officials, and a large number of representatives of banks, financial institutions, and businessmen from both sides.
The government and the European Union signed a financing agreement worth €30.5 million to enhance growth by supporting private sector projects in various fields, provided that the two sides set conditions for benefiting from them by the beginning of next year.
The European Union and the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction also signed a financing agreement amounting to €23 million, including €20 million in a loan portfolio and €3 million in the form of loan guarantees.
The third agreement is between Proparco, a French Development Finance Institution, and the Palestinian Microfinance Company, Faten, which is a credit (re-lending) at a value of €8 million, in addition to €1.25 million in loan guarantees.
The fourth agreement is a financing agreement between the Netherlands Development Bank, FMO, and Vitas worth €10 million.
The fifth agreement between the Italian Cooperation Agency, AICS, and the Palestinian Fund for Employment, with a value of €2.9 million, will be allocated to financing startups, to be followed by agreements with a number of lending institutions.
Prime Minister Shtayyeh described the forum as "a unique opportunity that reflects the spirit of partnership," expressing his appreciation to the European Commission and the EU countries "for the messages we hear from them," in terms of their commitment to supporting the Palestinian economy as part of their support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
He said that since his government assumed office in 2019, it has sensed the spirit of cooperation and partnership with the European Union.
“We know that there will be no political solution tomorrow, and that we are working in this vacuum and in the absence of any initiatives for a solution,” he said, adding that his government “is working to strengthen the economy and gradually disengage from the colonial occupation, which could be done by enhancing access to the resources and sources of financing.”
Shtayyeh stressed that investment in Palestine is possible, despite the conditions resulting from the occupation, as "we have a regulatory and encouraging legislative framework, such as the Investment Promotion Law, the Companies Law, the Communications Law, and all the necessary systems" to stimulate investment.
"There are risks, and they will always be there, as in all countries of the world. yet, Palestine is ready for businesses and partnerships," he added, stressing that despite the appreciation for the EU’s economic support, more political support is also needed to end the Israeli occupation and establish the independent Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, as well as pressure Israel to stop its aggression.
“The issue is not only a matter of money, despite its importance, but rather what is more important is to bring European companies to work here. There is a French industrial zone in Bethlehem, and another with Japanese support in Jericho. Work is underway to establish a Turkish industrial zone in Jenin, and there is talk of a Chinese industrial zone in Hebron,” said the Prime Minister.