Abraaj Capital, the Middle East's largest private equity group, announces the appointment of its first country manager for Palestine and the establishment of an office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The appointment of Fayez Husseini provides on-the-ground expertise for Abraaj Capital's US$ 50 million Palestine Growth Capital Fund, which is dedicated to investing in dynamic Palestinian small and medium enterprises (SME). The office is Abraaj Capital's 8th in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region.
The Palestine Growth Capital Fund is part of Abraaj Capital's US$ 700 million regional SME investment-platform called Riyada Enterprise Development (RED).
Mr. Husseini has almost two decades of professional investment experience in Palestine and the Middle East. Born in East Jerusalem, Mr. Husseini studied finance at the Kogod School of Business at the American University in Washington DC, United States.
He began his career with the Palestinian Economic Development Group. As CEO, he helped provide finance to budding SMEs. He then joined the Palestine Commercial Services Company – predecessor of the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) – as investment manager.
Mr. Husseini joins Abraaj Capital's Riyada Enterprise Development from Dubai-based FRiENDi Group – the Middle East's largest mobile virtual-network operator – where he was Senior Vice President for Business Development.
"Fayez brings with him a great wealth of investment expertise across many sectors. This will be crucial in helping Riyada Enterprise Development find and invest in entrepreneurial Palestinian SMEs with the potential to expand at home and across the region," says Tom Speechley, Executive Director at Abraaj Capital.
"Fayez is from Palestine, with a deep knowledge of his country and the region, and an international background that would be the pride of any global institution looking to invest in the Middle East and North Africa," Mr. Speechley says.
Mr. Husseini's role is to help identify, execute and manage investments in some 20 to 25 Palestinian SMEs over the next four years. As a bi-product, the Fund will contribute to the development of this vital part of the Palestinian economy.
Backed by a dedicated Riyada Enterprise Development team, with eight offices across the region – including Dubai, Amman and Cairo, Mr. Husseini's primary focus is on SMEs that need capital and institutional support, with a preference for those that can leverage technology and innovation.
Mr. Husseini says: "This Fund is exactly what Palestinian entrepreneurs need. In addition to providing capital, it offers promising SMEs dedicated back-office and strategic support that will allow them to grow to the next level."
"The Fund comes at an important time for the Palestinian economy when it is projected to grow by more than 7 per cent this year, and when the Palestinian government is focusing more and more on developing the SME sector."
Abraaj Capital and the Palestine Investment Fund are co-sponsors of the Palestine Growth Capital Fund, with a combined commitment of US$ 15 million. Other commitments include US$ 5 million from the Bank of Palestine. The Palestine Growth Capital Fund is managed exclusively by Riyada Enterprise Development.