Signing Ceremony Concluded at Palestinian Embassy in Beirut
Palestine Investment Fund and President Mahmoud Abbas Foundation Launch Economic Empowerment Program for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
The Palestinian embassy in Beirut hosted the signing ceremony of the agreement to announce the implementation of the economic empowerment program of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, which will be implemented by the Palestine Investment Fund in cooperation with President Mahmoud Abbas Foundation, at the direction of His Excellency, at a size of US $2 million in the first phase. The program will be funded by the Palestine Investment Fund and the Al-Aqsa Fund / Management of Islamic Development Bank, to reach the size of $5 million in the next five years.
Operational agreements have been signed for the program with a number of specialized lending institutions operating in Lebanon, namely: Social Aid Foundation, Union of Arab Palestinian Women and the General Union of Palestinian Women in Lebanon, while the Lebanese Association for Development “The Group” is expected to join the program in the coming period.
All these institutions will follow up the implementation of the program, especially as they are spread across most Palestinian camps and communities in Lebanon. These institutions are active in Lebanon as associations, some of which aim to develop and support the Palestinian refugee community there in economic, social and cultural arenas, as well as strengthen the capacity of diverse segments of Palestinian society and improve their conditions, while others specialize in providing required funding for small projects in Lebanon, to develop them and improve the standard of living for the less fortunate in society.
Dr. Mohammad Mustafa, Chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, said the program will provide loans at values ranging from US $500 to $5000 to fund 2000 small, income-generating projects for residents of Palestinian camps and communities in Lebanon, in order to help reduce the poor economic conditions in which they live, provide new jobs and a decent living for them and support their steadfastness until they return to their homeland of Palestine.
On economic sectors to be covered by the projects, Dr. Mustafa said they will cover a range of productive economic sectors, including: industry, agriculture, trade, services, technology, health and education, and any other productive sectors. He also indicated that the program targets all Palestinian camps and communities in Lebanon within their various segments and categories, in geographic areas in which Palestinian refugees are legally allowed to work there.
Dr. Mustafa added: “The Palestinian leadership, represented by His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, has given vital importance to improving the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and the launch of this program is only part of the program of Mr. President to support our people in Lebanon and improve their economic, social, educational and health situation.”
The signing ceremony was attended by Mr. Azzam Al-Ahmed, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and member of Fatah Central Committee, His Excellency the Palestinian Ambassador in Lebanon Mr. Ashraf Dabbour, the secretaries of PLO factions in Lebanon, representatives of national and Islamic forces there, along with representatives of lending institutions for small and medium enterprises and representatives of the popular committees of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps are an important part of the total number of refugees in the Diaspora and suffer from a wide range of social, economic and health problems, as well as poverty, high unemployment rates, poor housing conditions, overcrowding and lack of proper infrastructure.
The Palestine Investment Fund is a national Palestinian institution working to manage and invest the funds of the Palestinian people in a way to maintain these funds as a national, strategic reserve. The Fund aims to play a leading role in building up to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, by contributing to the development of Palestinian economy and making it sustainable, strong and dependent mainly on its own resources. This is through the launch of strategic investment programs in partnership with local and international partners from the private and public sectors, creating tens of thousands of jobs for our people and raising their standard of living.
The Mahmoud Abbas Foundation works primarily to address poverty among Palestinians inside and outside Palestine, give attention to women’s and youth issues, work to develop their capacity and enable them to have a suitable role in the process of building the national economy, address the problems of unemployment in Palestinian society, and give attention to cultural and educational development as a main tool enabling Palestinian society to survive in the difficult conditions of living under occupation, in addition to providing educational opportunities for our people.