Under its Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP), the European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 45 million to the Palestinian National Authority (PA) for an essential investment to upgrade electricity supplies.

The finance contract was signed in London by Mr. Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice President of the EIB in charge of FEMIP and Mr. Jihad Al Wazir, Deputy Finance Minister of the Palestinian National Authority.

Mr. De Fontaine Vive commented: This operation marks the renewal of EIB financial assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip after an absence of five years. It forms part of the step-up in EU support for economic regeneration in Palestine in the light of the Gaza disengagement, re-launch of the Middle East Peace Process and the implementation of the Wolfensohn Action Plan. This investment will make a crucial contribution to strengthening the Palestinian economy and standard of living. The project is part of a EUR 99 million programme for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the electricity transmission and distribution network throughout the Palestinian territories. It entails erecting 34 km of transmission lines in the Gaza Strip, the construction of two substations near Jerusalem and Nablus and distribution lines in the West Bank, and the installation of about 50,000 pre-paid meters across the Palestinian territories.

Spain (EUR 34m), Norway and Sweden (EUR 13m) and the Palestinian Authority (EUR 7m) are the other project's financiers.

Amongst other benefits, the project will provide infrastructure to meet growing electricity demand at a competitive cost, reduce technical and commercial losses in the network, facilitate rural electrification and improve the reliability and quality of supply.