In a complex geopolitical context, Palestine is struggling to provide populations with access to essential services. The economy is having trouble recovering and the country is marked by the unemployment of its youth. AFD is supporting the development of the water sector in the country and is assisting municipalities and the private sector.
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view Hebron city, Palestinian Territories
AFD and Palestine: strengthening institutions, improving living conditions for populations and supporting the private sector
view Hebron city, Palestinian Territories

Scaling up access to water and sanitation

water, sanitation, equipment, Palestinian Territories

Scaling up access to water and sanitation

With the increasing scarcity of water resources, water and sanitation are two priority sectors in Palestine. 

Since 1998, AFD has financed 13 projects and 800,000 additional people now have access to drinking water. 

Our action aims to improve the public water and sanitation service. To do so, it is necessary to protect water resources and strengthen the institutions responsible for managing these services. It is for this reason that we continue to: 

  • Support the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) on institutional and governance issues; 
  • Strengthen our partnerships with public service operators (Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, CMWU, in Gaza) and Joint Water Councils on financing for water distribution and sanitation projects.

Our operations for access to water concern the whole territory of the West Bank and Gaza.

Helping municipalities improve services

infrastructures, works,Palestinian Territories

Helping municipalities improve services

Given the weakness of the Palestinian Authority (PA), municipalities are in the front line of ensuring that services for populations function properly. These public services are of particular importance: in addition to their direct impact on the lives of residents, they promote social cohesion and strengthen the role of the PA.  

AFD supports municipalities in order to: 

  • Develop urban infrastructure and social services; 
  • Strengthen service operators.

Our main partners are the Municipal Development and Lending Fund (MDLF) and the NGO Development Center – NDC.

As an example, AFD took part in the creation of two landfill sites in the Gaza Strip in order to improve living conditions and health issues for local people.

Revitalizing the private sector

Dattes regime, Aleksandar, Flickr

Revitalizing the private sector

The Palestinian Authority is faced with a high unemployment rate (27%), and youth are particularly affected. Strengthening the private sector, which creates employment, is a priority.

AFD has been supporting the private sector since 1999, in partnership with the Ministry of National Economy and private institutions (the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, the trade promotion agency PalTrade, the Palestinian Federation of Industries).

Several grants have made it possible to:

  • Modernize industrial sectors, such as olive oil production and information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Gaza Strip;
  • Create an industrial estate in the Bethlehem region in 2008;
  • Support 5 sectors: leather and shoes in Hebron, dates and palm trees in Gaza, tourism in Jerusalem, furniture, stone and marble in Salfit - via a Cluster approach with various partners;
  • Modernize 50 companies in the sectors of agribusiness, chemical products, paper, plastics and metals.

AFD also supports the private sector with non-sovereign financing tools:

  • To Palestinian SMEs in partnership with local banks via the ARIZ risk-sharing mechanism or specific credit lines (such as Sunref);
  • To support large-scale investment projects such as the pharmaceutical plant Pharmacare and a date production company in the Jordan Valley.

Developping green energy

Solar panels

Developping green energy

In Palestine, 90% of the energy consumed is imported. This results in a high dependence on neighboring countries and an extremely high supply cost. Consumption patterns also need to be more economical and domestic production, from renewable sources, needs to be increased.

Making public buildings green…

In 2012, the Palestinian Authority adopted a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP). In this context, in 2013, AFD and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) contributed to the creation of a fund to finance projects for energy efficiency in public buildings and conduct awareness-raising campaigns on this subject. The savings made are used to repay the investment and replenish the fund.

…and the private sector 

To encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, AFD has introduced the SUNREF program. This credit line increases the capacity of local banks to identify and finance green projects, while encouraging project developers.

AFD’s aim is to systematically take the energy dimension into account in all our operations

AFD group funded projects since 2016
million euros commited by AFD group since 1999
54 %
of AFD's group commitments since 1999 in water sector

Palestine: 6,020 km2 divided between the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, on the Mediterranean coast to the southwest of Israel, and a population of 4.5 million inhabitants. The territory is divided and disputed and is subject to a protracted conflict.

Twenty-five years after the Oslo Accords, institutional reforms often remain at the law stage and have difficulty being translated into significant changes in the daily lives of populations. The ongoing difficulties and tensions have led to a serious deterioration in the economic situation and have not helped reduce poverty: the population struggles to access basic services and unemployment remains high (27%), especially in Gaza (42%). Palestine has a very high proportion of young people, who are particularly affected by the lack of prospects.

However, the extraordinary capacity for resilience of Palestinian society provides valuable leverage to rely on in the context of development actions. AFD has been operating in Palestine since 1999, where its strengthens the structures the most closely linked to realities on the ground (public service operators, municipalities, SMEs and civil society) in order to provide populations with access to basic services as rapidly as possible. 

In accordance with the policy of the French Government, which aims to “contribute to the creation of a viable Palestinian State, living in peace and security alongside Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as the capital of both States”, AFD supports sustainable development in Palestine. 

AFD's Palestine office is directly attached to the Middle East regional office in Beirut.

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