Ramallah, MINA – The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending institution of the European Union and the world’s largest international public bank, formally opened its first office covering the West Bank and Gaza at a ceremony held yesterday in Ramallah, alongside confirming record support, backed by the European Union, for Palestinian business investment and new cooperation with the World Health Organization to improve public health.
The new dedicated local presence will enhance technical and financial support for private and public investment and will be located within the European Union Representation to the West Bank and Gaza in Jerusalem, WAFA reported.
The new EIB office was formally opened by Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, Gelsomina Vigliotti, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Feras Milhem, Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, and Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, European Union Representative.
They were joined by Khaled al Ossaily, Minister of National Economy, and Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Investment Fund, and attended by Palestinian political, business and banking leaders, European Union ambassadors and international financial partners.
New EIB supports priority investment to strengthen economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and improve public health, including the largest ever EIB backing for Palestinian business investment, the first dedicated financing for business investment co-funded by the European Union in Gaza and the first cooperation between the European Investment Bank and World Health Organization to support public health in Palestine was announced at the opening ceremony.
“The European Investment Bank is a key partner for public and private investment that creates jobs, enhances economic opportunities and improves lives for millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Establishing our first office responsible for the West Bank and Gaza will further strengthen the impact of EIB financial and technical support and engagement with Palestinian, European and international partners. The new EIB office builds on our leading contribution to priority water, energy, education and business investment over recent years,” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
“Today we send a firm signal that the EU, its Member States, and our lending institution, the European Investment Bank, stand strongly with Palestine. On the day Palestinians commemorate ‘Nakba’, we inaugurate the first permanent representation of the EIB to Palestine, located in the city of Jerusalem. This demonstrates our commitment to the creation of a democratic, viable, contiguous and independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem serving as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. The new EIB representation will nurture relationships, enhance cooperation and mobilize more quality investments between the EU and Palestinian partners,” said EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.
“Over the last week, I have seen and heard first-hand how the European Investment Bank is improving access to clean water and reliable energy and helping Palestinian businesses to expand, create jobs and invest in a better future. Our first office here, within the EU Representation, will strengthen investment that addresses the economic, social and climate challenges hindering daily life. Together as Team Europe we help boost the Palestinian economy and enable a better future for the Palestinians,” said Gelsomina Vigliotti, European Investment Bank Vice President.
The new EIB office will be headed by Francesco Totaro, the EIB Representative to the West Bank and Gaza.
Ahead of the office’s opening ceremony the European Investment Bank formally agreed on three new business financing programs with the European Union, Palestine Monetary Authority and Cairo-Amman Bank Palestine.
The $192 million of new business financing, to be managed by local banks in the West Bank and Gaza will be enabled by the EIB’s largest ever credit line to the Palestine Monetary Authority, helping expand its flagship economic recovery program called ‘Estidama’, or Sustainability.
This includes the first dedicated EIB and EU support for economic recovery, reconstruction efforts and business investment in Gaza. The EIB, EU and PMA signed a memorandum of understanding to deliver an additional €15 million to this end in form of EU guarantees, incentive grants and technical assistance.
New investment by hundreds of Palestinian companies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be made possible by $22 million of new financing made available by the European Investment Bank and managed by Cairo Amman Bank Palestine. This is the EIB’s first credit line with Cairo-Amman Bank Palestine backed against credit and political risk by the EU.
Palestinian companies active in tourism, manufacturing and services are expected to benefit from the new EIB and EU-backed business financing, part of Team Europe’s overall response to the COVID-19 crisis to support sustainable social and economic recovery of the region.
The EIB and World Health Organization also unveiled new cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to strengthen primary healthcare provision and oncology services and enhance health investment in the West Bank and Gaza.
The European Investment Bank has supported transformational public and private investment across the West Bank and Gaza since 1995.(T/R3/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)