Bethlehem, West Bank, June 2, 2010-
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today launched a landmark $500 million
mortgage finance program that will double the number of Palestinian families
who are able to purchase homes by offering long-term mortgages that will
enable them to enjoy the benefits of home ownership without excessively
burdening their monthly incomes.
The Affordable Mortgage and Loan program will offer prospective Palestinian
homebuyers fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgage loans with tenors of up
to 25 years, increasing home affordability. By rejuvenating the Palestinian
housing sector and its related industries, which together generate thousands
of jobs in the Palestinian territories, AMAL stands to spur significant
economic growth in Palestine. The mortgage program is expected to be operational
in late 2010, in coordination with plans to develop new residential neighborhoods
for Palestine’s working and middle classes.
President Abbas announced the program on the first day of the Palestine
Funding for mortgage program is being supplied by leading international
and Palestinian financial institutions that include the Palestine Investment
Fund, (PIF), an independent, state-owned investment fund working on economic
development in Palestine, which will provide financing of $72 million;
the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US government agency
whose mission is to facilitate US private sector investment in less-developed
countries, which will provide $241 million; and the International Finance
Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, which will provide
$72 million. Moreover, two leading local banks, Bank of Palestine and Cairo
Amman Bank, will collectively provide $100 million in funding to the program.
The banks will also serve as liaisons with the borrowers and will undertake
all origination and servicing activities. The UK Department for International
Development (DFID) will provide $20 million in catalytic financing to support
the mortgage lending program.
As part of the program, a new company, the Affordable Mortgage and Loan
Corporation (AMAL), was established to oversee and administer the provision
of mortgage financing. AMAL was formed in partnership between the Palestinian
Affordable Housing Association (SAKAN), a Palestinian non-governmental
organization whose mission is to support affordable housing in Palestine;
CHF International; an international development organization that works
in post-conflict, unstable and developing countries; the Middle East Investment
Initiative (MEII), a non-profit organization formed to help revitalize
economies in the Middle East; the Bank of Palestine; and Cairo Amman Bank.
The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN HABITAT) will also support
AMAL through providing $1 million in long term financing to SAKAN.
The mortgage finance program will also support the development of the Palestinian
mortgage finance sector at large, through technical assistance programs
that will be sponsored by the World Bank, IFC and the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID).
Notes and media contacts:
The Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), was established in 2003
as an independent investment company, which aims to strengthen the local
economy through key strategic investments, while maximizing long-run returns
for its ultimate shareholder; the people of Palestine. PIF prudently invests
through an investment strategy focused on long-term value creation. For
more information, visit www.pif.ps.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was established
as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest
overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements
the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment,
and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees
for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost
to taxpayers. For more information, visit www.opic.gov.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World
Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve
their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries
by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and
providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
Our new investments totaled $4.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel
capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
Bank of Palestine (BoP), was established in 1960, BoP is the first
national bank with the largest network of 41 branches in the West Bank
and Gaza, with a paid capital of $100 million, assets of over $1.4 billion,
deposits of $1.3 billion and loans of $450 million. BoP has over 900 employees
serving over 400,000 customers and a 17% market share of deposits and loans.
BoP has been very active in promoting the SME Finance and Micro Finance
sector in Palestine and established dedicated units within the bank to
service those customers with the aim of developing the economy through
wider access to finance. For more information, visit www.bankofpalestine.com.
Cairo Amman Bank (CAB). For more information, visit www.ca-bank.com.
The Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII), an independent 501 (c)(3)
non-profit organization, partners with public and private organizations
to make credit and business financing more available in the Palestinian
territories, and elsewhere in the region, in order to stimulate economic
activity and create jobs. MEII is satisfied that a sound economic base
is one clear path to social and political stability. To this end, MEII
has led efforts to establish a loan guarantee program in the West Bank
and Gaza. MEII is working to create effective and sustainable risk insurance
to address movement of products for Palestinian businesses; and MEII and
its partners are developing the first affordable home mortgage facility
for Palestinian working class families. For more information, visit www.meiinitiative.org.
CHF International is an international development organization founded
in1952 that works in post-conflict, unstable and developing countries.
We partner with communities around the world to help them to improve and
direct their lives and livelihoods. We believe that the people best suited
to decide what a community needs is the community itself. CHF is a politically
neutral, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. CHF has been providing development
and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since
1995. For more information, visit www.chfinternational.org.
The Palestinian Affordable Housing Association (SAKAN), is a non-governmental,
non-profit foundation established under the Charitable Associations and
Civil Society Organizations Law No. 1 0f 2000 with the objective of facilitating
home ownership for low and middle income households and promoting mortgage
financing activities in Palestine.
Ten (10) individuals serve as the founders of SAKAN and its General Assembly.
The founders are highly experienced and reputable members of Palestine’s
civil society and business community. For more information, please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the United
Nations agency for the built environment, works with all spheres of government,
civil society and the private sector to help build, manage, plan and finance
sustainable urbanization around the world. At the dawn of a new urban era
with most of humanity now living in cities, UN-HABITAT is at the frontline
of the battle against urban poverty and climate change. UN-HABITAT is implementing
a Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People since
2005. For more information, visit www.unhabitat.org.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID), is the part
of the UK government that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works
to get rid of extreme poverty. It works in 150 countries and has 64 offices
overseas. It has been in working directly in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
for 17 years, with the objective of enhancing the prospects for peace and
a viable Palestinian state that will reduce poverty, while meeting humanitarian
needs. For more information, visit www.dfid.gov.uk.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has
provided more than $2.9 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians
in the West Bank and Gaza via projects designed to reduce poverty, improve
health and education, implement infrastructure and water projects, create
jobs, and promote democracy and good governance.