CAPACITY BUILDING

EBRD And FATEN Boost Women Entrepreneurs In West Bank And Gaza

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By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strengthening women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the West Bank and Gaza, with a US$ 2million loan to Palestine for Credit and Development (FATEN), the largest microfinance institution in the West Bank and Gaza.

The private sector represents a substantial segment of the local economy but access to finance for Palestinian small businesses and, specifically, those led by women, remains limited. Finance for these enterprises is vital to support the economy, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EBRD loan will help FATEN to increase funding to women-led local, private MSMEs in the West Bank and will be accompanied by 20 per cent first-loss risk cover for FATEN.

A technical assistance package, financed by the Netherlands government through the EBRD’s West Bank and Gaza Trust Fund, will help FATEN to develop financial products and lending practices that meet the specific needs of women-led MSMEs.

Established in 1999 as a private non-profit company, FATEN became licensed and monitored by the Palestine Monetary Authority in 2014, and is the largest microfinance institution in the West Bank and Gaza, with a market share of 39 per cent.

The EBRD started investing in the West Bank and Gaza in 2017. To date, 16 projects have been signed for a total of US$ 66.8 million.

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