Chamber of Commerce and UNDP Sign Agreement in Support of Private Sector Development in East Jerusalem with Funds from EUMay 8, 2017
Jerusalem, 08 May 2017 – In the presence of European Union Head of Cooperation Alessandra Viezzer, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP) and the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jerusalem signed a cooperation agreement to provide business development support, and financial and urban planning legal assistance to the enterprises targeted in Salah Eddin and Sultan Suleiman Streets as part of the Productivity and Urban Renewal Programme funded by the European Union and the Islamic Development Bank.
“This project is very important as it will put the chamber of Commerce in its rightful place as the umbrella for the commercial sector in East Jerusalem,” said Fadi Hidmi, Director of the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The project was a success story before it even started because it represented a real partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and Islamic Waqf, as well as other prominent institutions in Jerusalem and various official bodies,” he added.
Through the USD 470,000 worth of agreement, the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jerusalem will (1) provide business development services and economic support to existing businesses, and potential start-ups; (2) promote strategic public-private partnerships relevant to Salah Eddin and Sultan Suleiman commercial centres, with focus on culture, tourism, youth and women empowerment; (3) and facilitate legal aid and financial services to targeted businesses within the two commercial streets.
The different components will address the needs of businesses and local shop owners, as well as the local population at large by creating an enabling environment for competitive and attractive commercial gateways.
UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Roberto Valent, highlighted the importance of supporting the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem and their resilience. “The agreement we are signing today will enhance the capacities of the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in serving trade and industry and create an enabling environment for public-private partnerships, economic growth and response to the financial and legal challenges facing business owners in East Jerusalem".
The signing ceremony took place on 08 May 2017 at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, and was attended by Alessandra Viezzer, EU Head of Cooperation, Mr Fadi Hidmi, Director of the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, as well as representatives from the tourism and private sector, cultural and educational institutions.
The Productivity and Urban Renewal Programme in East Jerusalem (PURE) is funded by the European Union (EU) (Euro 5 million) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) (USD 4 million). The programme is being implemented by UNDP/PAPP in cooperation with the Islamic Waqf and the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in East Jerusalem. It is estimated that over 120 commercial and 50 business activities will directly benefit from the project, in addition to 350-400 businessmen and workers, with approximately 16,000 work days created.
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