Micro-credit for Palestinians Begins, with Italian Help

Nov 2015
Palestine, November, 04 2015 - Over 20 million euros have been made available by the Italian foreign ministry and international cooperation for a three-year micro-credit program in the West Bank, an inauguration ceremony for which was held on Wednesday.

The program, entitled 'Start-Up Palestine: Financial Instruments to Increase Employment and Income Generation in Palestine', enjoys the collaboration of the Italian banking institutes Cassa Padana, Federcasse (the central institute of Banche di Credito Cooperativo) and Banca Etica, in partnership with the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) and the Palestinian Authority's finance ministry.

The project aims to provide financial instruments especially to women, youths and small-scale farmers, who suffer the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in the Palestinian Territories. ''In Italy we are among the pioneers of cooperative credit for rural areas,'' said the Italian Consul General in Jerusalem, Davide La Cecilia. ''This agreement shows Italy's will to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and the institutions of the future Palestinian state.'' ''The program is on two levels,'' said Marco Azzalini, head of the project for the Italian Cooperation in Jerusalem. ''The first concerns financial and non-financial services to micro and small enterprises and vulnerable groups - for which 5 agreements were signed today worth 7 million euros - which will make it possible to offer credit lines. And then we are working with the Palestinian Monetary Authority to introduce alternative banking models, including credit and cooperative saving.'' The inauguration was held at the Gran Park Hotel in Ramallah, with - in addition to Consul La Cecilia, who signed the agreement on Italy's behalf - PMA governor Jihad Al Wazir, Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla, Federcasse director Sergio Gatti and Banca Etica chief Ugo Biggeri.

Source : ANSAmed

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