The community engagement platform for business and development, RITAJ Talks, hosted guest speaker Mr. Jalil Hazboun, Development Investment Bond (DIB) Senior Advisor at the Finance for Jobs (F4J) project, which is a Palestinian Ministry of Finance and Planning project being managed by the firm Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) and is funded with five million dollars from the World Bank.
Moderating the event was Ms. Nisreen Musleh, Managing Director of Ritaj Managerial Solutions, which hosts the RITAJ Talks speaking series, a series which brings knowledgeable speakers to present on the most pressing business and development issues in a venue that is open to the public.
Mr. Hazboun walked through a presentation about what exactly the Finance for Jobs (F4J) project is in terms of financing schemes. The project comprises of three components. The first component, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Matching Grant (EE-MG) is a matching grant (cost-sharing) facility targeting early stage investment funds seeking to build a portfolio of investments in start-up and early stage enterprises. The grant available here per project is approximately 10,000-30,000 USD.
The second component is the Investment Co-Financing Facility (ICF) and focuses on larger scale projects. This facility will match investments made by social investors.
The third component of the Finance for Jobs (F4J) project is to develop the first ever Development Impact Bond (DIB) for Palestine. This DIB facility will aim to build skills and place trainees in job opportunities. The bulk of Mr. Hazboun presentation was spent detailing how the DIB model is different from the traditional modes of donor intervention.
Every bid for a DIB must show how it will employ 30 persons, at minimum. The focus is on youth between the ages of 18-29 with a 30% target of the job being filled by women. The employment opportunities may be in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. Also, projects can serve the private sector to civil society. More details and instructions on how to apply for a DIB is at www.f4j.ps.
A key note on the DIB facility is that the source of funds, in addition to the World Bank’s five million dollars, is a pool of international and local social investors who will be reimbursed their investment contributions only after projects are executed and independently verified that they actually did create job opportunities.
The extremely engaged audience featured a diverse group of firms, service providers, and individuals considering submitting to benefit from thus DIB facility later this week. The DIB requires service providers bidding to do so in a consortium so following the talk many side conversations focused on attendees joining forces and submitting for a DIB jointly.
The host of the RITAJ Talk, Ms. Nisreen Musleh, noted that “today’s talk serves the exact purpose of why we established the RITAJ Talk series. Ritaj desires to bring together local stakeholders to learn together how best to serve the Palestinian economy. In today’s talk, we were keenly interested in the “impact” part of the DIB because our ultimate goal is to contribute to sustainable development and not donor-driven temporary job opportunities”