The world has witnessed the spread of COVID-19 pandemic which has also affected Palestine as government has announced emergency and lockdown in March 2020 which has led to massive disruptions in many economic sectors. Despite all the obstacles brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance for Jobs (F4J) project with its three financial instruments; the Investment Co- Financing Facility (ICF), the Development Impact Bond (DIB) and the Entrepreneurship Eco- System Matching Grant (EEMG) continues to make headway day by day under a joint effort made by all partners and beneficiaries.
The F4J project team through the ICF innovative financial instrument continued working remotely in submitting two investment proposals and social cost benefit analysis reports; one project is for developing ISP Infrastructure in rural areas of the Gaza Strip, another project is for establishing Hatchery and Poultry Slaughterhouse in Gaza Strip as well.
The DIB financial instrument team continued to deliver the services that the project work on which supports and invests in skills- especially for youth. The service providers for training has adapted a new approach to provide services utilizing the power of online learning and to be virtually fully connected and operational. Virtual mobilization and training will be a learning process for all SPs involved, and adjustments and flexibility will be needed along the way. Three service providers have signed contracts during April and May 2020; Palestine Education for Employment (PEFE): Nursing Program started to virtually mobilize the program and received over 350 online applications so far. Juzoor for Health & Social Development (Intern Doctors Program) and Palestine Engineers Association (PEA): Health & Safety Specialists both will start virtual mobilization in June 2020. Other service provider is within the future pipeline.
Several supported Business Development Services under the EEMG were postponed and some companies’ revenues dropped significantly due to lockdowns caused by COVID-19. However, two startups scored success stories; Play3arabi and Receet. Play3arabi startup launched the first historical mobile game in the market Recently, play3arabi, partnered with both Wafa Games, a growing game developer from China and Triple Dragon, a gaming investor and financier from the United Kingdom, to develop a new historical game "Swords of Glory". Receet, secured a six-figure, pre-series A investment round from Ibtikar Fund and Paltel Group in the amount of $400,000.