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IFC, Bank of Palestine Support Women Entrepreneurs in West Bank and Gaza


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +(202) 2461-4230
E-mail: rmustafa@ifc.org

Ramallah, West Bank and Gaza, April 6, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Bank of Palestine (BoP) today celebrated the graduation of 40 women from the bank’s Felestineya Mini-MBA program, an initiative designed to boost access to finance for women entrepreneurs and spur economic growth by unleashing the potential of women-led businesses.

BoP kicked off its Mini-MBA Program in October 2015, in partnership with IFC, in both the West Bank and Gaza. The six-month course, which aims to develop the business and leadership skills of established women entrepreneurs, focuses on strategic and financial planning, marketing, and human resource management, among other concepts. It is part of BOP’s Felestineya Banking on Women Program, which offers a range of financial products for women, from collateral-free and gold loans to financial literacy programs and online knowledge toolkits.

“Empowering women with the necessary knowledge, financial resources, and leadership skills is key to enhancing business performance and boosting overall growth,” said Hashim Shawa, Bank of Palestine’s Chairman and General Manager. “We are proud we were able to pilot the program in both the West Bank and Gaza. Today, a number of the women entrepreneurs from Gaza will join us in Ramallah, uniting both pilot groups for the first time.”

BOP’s Felestineya Banking on Women program is part of an agreement IFC signed with BoP in 2014 to scale up the bank’s lending operations to smaller firms, especially those owned by women. While women own more than 62,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises across the West Bank and Gaza, roughly a quarter of all enterprises, more than 60 percent of these are unserved or underserved when it comes to financing. Each of these businesses needs an average of $42,000 in financing, representing a potential credit need of $147 million across the Palestinian market.

“Women are changing the face of the global economy, helping to sustain job creation and economic growth. Yet they often lack access to capital and access information to grow their businesses,” says Youssef Habesch, IFC Resident Representative in the West Bank and Gaza. “By changing this, we can spur innovation and help create jobs, something that is especially important in the West Bank and Gaza.”

The graduation ceremony included a number of private sector leaders, civil society organizations, women's organizations, and senior representatives from IFC and BoP.  

The initiative is part of IFC’s broader strategy in West Bank and Gaza, which aims to facilitate access to finance, create jobs, and support women’s integration into the economy.  

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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