February 8, 2011 / 1:56 PM / 8 years ago

Palestinian tycoon launches first private equity fund

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb 8 (Reuters) - A leading Palestinian entrepreneur on Tuesday announced the launch of a $60 million private equity fund to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the first in the West Bank.

“Palestine’s private sector is thirsty for an infusion of cash and managed expansion,” said Bashar Masri, whose Ramallah-based holding company Massar International invests in real estate and financial and investment services.

The Siraj Palestine Fund would unleash “the latent potential of Palestinian SMEs by promoting technological advancement, job creation and addressing the acute shortage of equity capital”, a statement said.

The fund had raised over $60 million and was expected to reach $80 million in the next few months.

The economy of the aid-dependent Palestinian Authority, the bulk of it composed of SMEs, is expected to grow by 7 percent in 2011. It grew by 8 percent the year before.

The fund would benefit Palestinian SMEs in fields such as manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and transportation, the statement said.

Editing by Patrick Graham

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