European development bank OKs investment in West Bank, Gaza

MarketsAssociated Press

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says its board has approved its involvement in building up the economy of the West Bank and Gaza over the next five years.

Board Chairman Pierre Gramegna said Wednesday the bank will channel investments through a trust fund. He did not specify the sum.

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He said the assistance will aim to boost private sector competitiveness and improve access to financing for small and medium-sized companies.

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said the trust fund will be set up through an allocation from the net income of the bank, whose profits jumped 25 percent last year to around 1 billion euro ($1.087 billion).

The bank will operate in the West Bank and Gaza from its office in Amman, Jordan.