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5 Palestinian banks sign deals with a French bank for private sector growth


Bethlehem - Ma"an - The French Bank Natixis signed agreements in Bethlehem with five Palestinian banks on the sidelines of the Palestine Investment Conference 2010, a statement from the French Consulate read.  The deals, signed by the Arab Bank, Cairo Amman Bank, Bank of Palestine, Al Quds Bank, Egyptian Arab Land Bank, is part of implementing a financial protocol signed by Palestinian Authority Minister of National Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh on 8 April and French Minister of Industry Christian Estrosi to support the development of the Palestinian private sector and the Bethlehem Industrial Park, to which France is a major donor. The protocol provides for a 5 Euro million grant from the French government in order to facilitate loans from local banks to Palestinian private companies or French-Palestinian joint-ventures, especially small and medium enterprises. The mechanism, which will be implemented through the Natixis and the five Palestinian banks, "is open to all Palestinian economic sectors with a special focus on projects located in the Bethlehem Industrial Park. Small and medium size Palestinian companies and French-Palestinian joint-ventures are eligible to this program," the statement read.  Furthermore, the COFACE Overseas Investment Insurance will be made available as a guarantee for French companies to cover their investments in joint-venture projects with Palestinian partners in the Bethlehem Industrial Park. The ceremony took place in presence of Abu Libdeh, Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority Jihad Al Wazir, French Special Representative for the Economic, Cultural, Commercial, Educational, and Environmental Dimensions of the Middle East Peace Process Valérie Hoffenberg, and Consul General of France in Jerusalem Frédéric Desagneaux.


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