Ramallah and Gaza, April 3, 2023 – The MOUSTADAMA Programme, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to foster an energy sustainable industry in Palestine, organized a networking event - "Finance Meets Sustainable Energy for Palestinian Industry" - to promote the financing of green energy measures for its industrial beneficiaries. The event was held in parallel in Ramallah and Gaza in the presence of the representatives of major governmental institutions, the Palestinian financial institutions, including development banks and private banks, and members of the Palestinian business community, including representatives of the country's major industries.
Embracing decarbonization poses many difficulties for Palestinian industry. The high cost of electricity - one of the highest in the Arab world - is certainly an incentive to switch to renewable forms of energy enabling the production of clean, locally generated power. However, managing the energy transition requires solid technical expertise, which companies do not always have access to, and financial instruments that can fund the deployment of new technological equipment. To fill this gap, the MOUSTADAMA Programme is working with one hundred Palestinian industries to develop integrated energy audits that include feasibility plans of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies based on the specific characteristics of each industrial facility. In addition, MOUSTADAMA supports them with a tailor-made business model that includes a projection of expected energy savings and links to financial instruments that can accelerate their energy transition.
Through this event, MOUSTADAMA aimed to strengthen the links between Palestinian stakeholders in the financial institutions and the industrial sectors in order to fill the last gap in the industrial energy transition process, namely the financing of decarbonization projects. Representatives from the Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII) and the SUNREF green finance label, sponsored by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in partnership with the European Union, were invited to present the financial instruments available to Palestinian industry, including loans and investment grants. Following these presentations, private sector and industry representatives had the opportunity to meet directly with representatives of financial institutions to gather information and make initial contacts.
The event was attended by the Minister of National Economy, H.E. Mr. Khaled Osaily, together with the Chairman of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, H.E. Dr. Firas Melhem, the Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Energy and National Resources Authority, Mr. Ayman Ismail, and the Head of Economic Development of the European Union in Jerusalem, Mr. Charles Raudot de Châtenay.
The Ministry of National Economy, H.E. Mr. Khaled Osaily, issued the following statement regarding the need to facilitate access to green finance for Palestinian industries:
“Decarbonization is both an environmental imperative and an opportunity. Particularly in a country like Palestine, which has to import the vast majority of its energy, industries are ready to invest, because they clearly see the benefits in terms of competitive advantage”, stated H.E. Mr. Khaled Osaily. “The MOUSTADAMA Programme has provided Palestinian industries with a clear approach and tools to implementing sustainable energy solutions: links with financial institutions must be strengthened to improve the private sector's access to finance and make the green transition a reality”, he continued.
The Chairman of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, H.E. Dr. Firas Melhem, reaffirmed its support for the promotion of financial policies in support of the development of green finance.
“By aligning the interests of the financial sector with the goals of inclusive development and the environment, green finance has a powerful transformative power in our economy” said H.E. Dr. Firas Melhem. “We must encourage financial institutions to prioritize sustainable investments and integrate energy security into their decision-making processes. By developing the right policies and providing the available financial opportunities, we can help mitigate climate change, boost competitiveness and increase the financial inclusion of our small and medium enterprises. As a monetary authority, we are committed to supporting and promoting green finance initiatives to help achieve our economic and environmental goals”, he continued.
H.E. Mr. Zafer Melhem emphasized that improving energy efficiency is a cost-effective intervention when compared to renewable energy sources, especially for the industrial sector. By implementing energy management and energy efficiency solutions, industries can achieve up to 30% of energy consumption savings. He also noted that the Palestinian Energy and National Resources Authority (PENRA) has shown significant interest in the industrial sector by implementing energy audit programs and facilitating funding for the installation of photovoltaic cells on factory rooftops. Furthermore, H.E. Zafer Melhem expressed that PENRA sees the MOUSTADAMA Programme as a continuation of these efforts. MOUSTADAMA plays a crucial role in increasing awareness among industrial facility owners about the benefits of renewable energy applications and energy efficiency resulting in increase on demand for sustainable energy in Palestinian industries.
The Head of Economic Development of the European Union in Jerusalem, Mr. Charles Raudot de Châtenay, emphasized how partnership between the involved organizations can help improve access to financial instruments for industry, thereby promoting inclusive and sustainable development.
“The European Union is standing side by side with Palestinian private sector and industry, to allow generation of growth and jobs decoupled from natural resource use, emissions and environmental degradation”, stated Mr. Charles Raudot de Châtenay. “The European Green Deal is our strategy for sustainable growth, based on fairness, innovation and the blueprint underpinning our engagement with our partners around the globe. Our partnership with the Palestinian Authority, UNIDO, and European Development Banks, to allow private sector to access green finance is an excellent example of how the EU is supporting at scale a fair transition to green economy. We believe that MOUSTADAMA’s experience will produce catalytic and multiplier effects, as our joint engagement will continue and deepen”, he continued.
UNIDO Senior Programme Officer Mr. Ahmed ElFarra described the achievements as follows:
“The MOUSTADAMA Programme has been working to foster the energy sustainability of Palestinian industry by avoiding the high-carbon choices of the past and by opting for all the innovative tools and solutions that can drive sustainable and inclusive progress”, said Mr. Ahmed ElFarra. “The event we organized tonight is another step in this direction. We hope that the relationship between the private sector and the financial institutions will come out strengthened, and that all stakeholders will be able to see this enforced linkage as a win-win opportunity. With credit lines and structured, bankable projects available, green investment becomes a growth driver for our economy”.
Mr. Joseph Sehwail, Vice President of MEII, has emphasized MEII’s readiness to use the Tamweeli platform to support facilitating access to finance for eligible MOUSTADAMA beneficiaries. “The Tamweeli platform provides streamlined processes and digital tools, enabling easier access to finance for individuals and businesses through financial institutions”, he stated. In addition, he emphasized the importance of encouraging the financial institutions and SMEs to prioritize sustainable investments and integrate energy security into their decision-making processes, which can help mitigate climate change, boost competitiveness, and increase the financial inclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises.