IFC Invests in Fund to Support SMEs in the West Bank and Gaza
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Ramallah, West Bank and Gaza, May 12, 2014—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is to invest in a private equity fund to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the West Bank and Gaza gain access to the finance they need to grow and create jobs.
IFC’s equity investment of up to $3 million in the Palestine Growth Capital Fund, which is managed by The Abraaj Group, will help provide long term financing to SMEs across various sectors, from health care to retail, allowing them to expand their business and employ more workers in a shrinking economy. IFC will also provide the fund with specialized advice on best practice, in order to help improve the sustainability of its investments.
“Through this fund we are directly addressing the needs of Palestinian entrepreneurs who, as in other parts of the world, have the capacity to transform the lives of those around them by creating sustainable employment opportunities and raising living standards,” said Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, The Abraaj Group.
Unemployment throughout the Middle East and North Africa is very high, especially among young people. In the West Bank the unemployment rate is almost 20 percent, while in Gaza it touches 30 percent. Providing SME’s with access to finance helps tackle this problem, because they provide more employment opportunities than any other sector.
“Aiding the recovery of economies affected by conflict is a key part of IFC’s strategy in the region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “As well as supporting SMEs, this investment will encourage investor confidence in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The investment is part of IFC’s wider efforts in the West Bank and Gaza, which focus on increasing the capacity of local companies through advisory services and targeted investments.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
About The Abraaj Group
The Abraaj Group is a leading private equity investor, purpose-built for operating in the growth markets of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Turkey, and Central Asia. Employing over 300 people, Abraaj has over 25 offices spread across six regions with hubs in Istanbul, Mexico City, Dubai, Mumbai, Nairobi, and Singapore. The group currently manages $7.5 billion across more than 20 sector and country-specific funds, encompassing private equity and real estate investments.
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