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Middle East & North Africa

Siraj: Creating jobs and opportunity in the West Bank

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​​​​​​​Site: West Bank​​​​​​​
 
Sector: Emerging market private equity
 
Challenge: Unemployment is high and opportunity is limited in the West Bank, and with 70 percent of the population under the age of 18, the need for more jobs is growing. But many promising small businesses struggle to obtain the financing that would enable them to expand and hire more workers.
 
How OPIC helped: In 2010, OPIC’s Investment Funds Department committed a $30 million loan to Siraj Palestine Fund I, a $90 million fund that invests in startups and small and medium enterprises in the West Bank.
 
Impact: With OPIC’s support, Siraj has invested in multiple small businesses across a range of sectors, from agriculture to financial services and technology, helping these businesses introduce efficiencies, adopt modern practices and expand. Siraj Investments include:
 
Aman, which operates eight armored vehicles for transporting cash and valuables securely. The company currently has about 30 employees and sees growth from an increased use of ATMs and a growing retail sector in which more international brands are establishing a presence.
 
Nakheel Palestine, an agriculture business which produces dates for sale in markets around the world, employs 80 full-time and about 500 seasonal workers, and is investing in advanced processing and storage techniques.
 
The National Bank, the fastest-growing bank in the West Bank, which operates 15 branches as well as online banking and mobile banking services. The National Bank was recognized as the Best Female Empowerment Bank in the Middle East for its commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs.
 
PalLease, a leasing business that provides an affordable way for small businesses to access essential equipment.
 
PalGaz, a gas distribution company that also provides central gas network pipelines to residential neighborhoods, factories, hospitals and cities.
 
WebTeb, an award-winning Arabic language health and wellness website that offers more than 350 million Arabic language speakers with health content and telemedicine services provided by Palestinian doctors. The majority of the company’s 14 employees are women.
 
This project was profiled in 2017