Bashar Masri, a Palestinian-American investor with interests in offshore business formation, has launched the first private equity company in the West Bank. With closing capital of sixty million dollars, Siraj Palestine Fund I has had investors from Palestine as well as Arab and international businesses.
One of the chief investors was Overseas Private Investment Corporation (or OPIC), which is owned by the United States government and gives financial assistance to emerging U.S. companies. Other major investors included the Soros Economic Development Fund (or SEDF), which is a nonprofit private foundation that invests in communities affected by poverty; the United Arab Emirate Crescent Investments; and the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ
While Siraj Palestine Fund I is not a lending company, it does invest in small to median companies within the Palestinian territories. It will provide financial assistance for five to seven years only in an attempt to improve technology, increase jobs, and help with “the acute shortage of equity capital for local businesses due to years of political turmoil,” according to Masri.
The equity company is registered as an offshore business in the Cayman Islands and as a Palestinian company in the West Bank. As it attracts international investors, its capital should reach eighty million dollars.
Masri is the sole owner of the new equity company. He has experience in business as the owner of an offshore holding company called Massar International, which has been in existence for seventeen years. Massar is responsible for building the first Palestinian city in the West Bank, Rawabi. Right –wing Israelis oppose the city, which is located near Ramallah and is still under construction.