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IFC and the Palestine Trade Center Promote Agribusiness in West Bank and Gaza


In Cairo:
Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa
Communications Team
Telephone: 0020 (2) 461 9150 Ext. 314/306
Emails: egermanetti@ifc.org/rmustafa@ifc.org



Cairo, November 30, 2006— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the Palestine Trade Center today launched the Olive Oil Export Development project. The project aims to enhance the technical competencies and export capacity of Palestinian agribusiness firms and cooperatives engaged in the production and trade of olives and olive oil in the West Bank and Gaza. The project is being implemented by IFC’s technical assistance facility for the Middle East and North Africa region, PEP-MENA.

Agribusiness and agriculture account for about two-thirds of total employment in the West Bank and Gaza. The production of olive oil is highly dependent on local inputs and has a sizable export potential. But the Palestinian olive oil industry faces constraints, such as weak quality control, poor quality packaging and labeling, inadequate supply chain links, and a lack of marketing know-how.

PEP-MENA’s Senior Operations Manager, Mary Peschka said, “IFC is delighted to collaborate with the Palestine Trade Center to support agribusiness in the West Bank and Gaza. We believe that enhancing the capacity of small and medium enterprises in these sectors will have a large impact on the country’s rural and economic development.”

Mohammad Nafiz Hirbawi, the Chairman of the Palestine Trade Center, commented, “The Olive Oil Export Development project could play an important role in developing exports by improving access to strategic markets and strengthening the supply chain and quality management of Palestinian olive oil bottling companies.”

The mission of the Palestine Trade Center is to lead the development of Palestinian trade to promote sustainable economic growth. The organization advocates a stronger business enabling environment and is dedicated to improving competitiveness through trade promotion and capacity building.

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About PEP-MENA
IFC’s PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for technical assistance that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa region. The facility was launched in October 2004 as part of the G8 Broader Middle East initiative. PEP-MENA focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatizations and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in technical assistance and advisory services projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.