AICS Jerusalem is strongly committed to promoting the development of the Palestinian economy, with a dedicated focus on the most vulnerable groups, providing innovative financial tools and technical assistance to small and medium enterprises. The portfolio includes 10 projects, 6 bilateral projects and 4 multibilateral, for an overall amount of 76 million euros (October 2018).
START-UP PALESTINE, targeting different vulnerable groups, and SME – Small and medium enterprises, which provides loans at concessional terms for equipment purchase, aim at facilitating access to credit for entrepreneurial initiatives. A third soft loan has been provided for the rehabilitation of the electric distribution network in the West Bank (EUMP, 17 million euros).
Additional bilateral initiatives are FIN-PAL, providing capacity building to micro-finance institutions, saving and credit cooperatives as well as to institutional actors (Palestine Monetary Authority, Palestinian Capital Market Authority and Ministry of Finance). Enhancing the Business Environment for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has been recently approved and aims at improving the business enabling environment and facilitating entrepreneurs to access and install renewable energies in order to reduce the production costs.
As for the multibilateral channel, the portfolio includes projects implemented by FAO, for the development of mariculture in the Gaza Strip, UNIDO to support the leather & shoe cluster in Hebron and UNRWA for the creation of job opportunities and the provision of vocational training for the youth in the refugee camps.
Finally, two additional initiatives are under the umbrella of the economic development sector but with special features. A cultural heritage project at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, where new rehabilitation works and a touristic valorization strategy will be developed, and a second touristic and religious development project at the St Nicholas Church in Beit Jala, thanks to Piacenti SPA, in the framework of a new AICS call for proposal devoted to italian firms.