Palestine also benefits from EIB support through the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI). Under the ERI, we recently signed an $18 million loan agreement with the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) to finance the installation of rooftop photovoltaic systems on 500 public schools in the West Bank. This will generate 35 MW of clean energy – enough to power more than 16 000 houses across the West Bank and save 31 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of Palestinian people by improving public services, economic conditions and access to affordable credit. In the private sector, the EIB focuses on providing funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as microfinance and private equity funds.
The EIB helps make funding available for local SMEs through lines of credit to local banks or through risk-sharing instruments. Recently, the Bank signed loans of $132 million with three Palestinian banks. We also encourage entrepreneurship through Arab Bank, which provides loans at lower rates to local SMEs and mid-caps.
Furthermore, through the Risk Capital Facility, we support microfinance via Vitas and Faten, which help people obtain funds to start or maintain their own micro-business and overcome poverty.