June 9, 2010

FNMD Clients Featured at Palestine Investment Conference

Businesses supported by the Facility for New Market Development (FNMD) featured prominently at the second Palestine Investment Conference, hosted June 2–3 in the city of Bethlehem under the auspices of H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas.

The two-day event convened nearly 2,000 local and international businesspeople, government representatives, and donor agencies to examine Palestine’s economic potential and investment opportunities.

Many FNMD client companies prepared business plans for the conference to attract investors, and more than 40 clients from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza participated in the “Best of Palestine” exhibition that ran alongside the conference.

FNMD is a three-year grants program funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank that helps Palestinian enterprises enter new markets and develop new products. Inaugurated in July 2008 by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, FNMD has built a portfolio of 198 companies from the West Bank and Gaza, representing manufacturing, agribusiness, stone and marble, information and communication technologies, services, tourism, pharmaceuticals, media, and handicrafts.

“We are proud of the achievements of our client companies and hope they will attract new trade and investment partners that believe in their businesses the same way FNMD does,” said Verena Oberrauch, the FNMD deputy team leader.

Products developed or improved with FNMD support and showcased at the exhibition include the recently certified Organic and Fair Trade olive oil produced by Al’Ard company, specialty welding arches made by Al Sharq company, a new range of decorative paints developed by Shalhoub, and stylish new furniture manufactured by White Palace. 

FNMD Gaza Manager Sharif Kishawi was particularly proud of the strong participation of FNMD’s Gaza clients, despite severe movement and access restrictions affecting Gaza and the Turkish flotilla event that overshadowed the conference. Those Gaza businesspeople who could not secure permits to travel to the West Bank hired consultants, with FNMD support, to represent their companies at the event. Most Gaza companies, unable to bring samples through the checkpoints, used large television screens to showcase their products.

DFID’s Helen Winterton and the World Bank’s Mariam Sherman met representatives of FNMD client companies and heard how FNMD is making a difference for these businesses.