Palestine International Business Forum (PIBF)

Palestinian, Israeli and Swedish companies and organisations work in the Palestine International Business Forum (PIBF) to support the economic development in Palestine. The project started in the 1990’s and is based on the conviction that economic and social development and equality are an important part of any peace process.

Our objective here is to contribute to economic development in Palestine. The main focus is:

  • To continue to further dialogue in order to discuss economic policy and issues around the role of business in building peace
  • To actively drive projects to increase the international contacts for Palestinian business

PIBF began with a meeting in Stockholm in 1994 where PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and the Israeli foreign minister Shimon Perez met with Swedish business representatives and requested their support for the peace process. The project is also a good example of how NIR are working long term. Between 1994 and 2001 a number of meetings were held to determine what NIR could do to achieve the best results in Palestine. PIBF was informally launched in 2001, at which time it was a totally unique joint project between Israelis and Palestinians. Four years later PIBF was formally launched with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

PIBF has several objectives. The first is to run different business projects in key industries in order to contribute to economic development. Another equally important objective is to discuss the role that business can play in building peace.

PIBF is a unique project as it demonstrates that it is possible to maintain a relevant dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli private sector parties in spite of continued conflict. Our work with PIBF has created good relationships between NIR and regional businesses and in particular with private sector organisations like the Palestinian Trade Center (PalTrade) and Israeli Manufacturers’ Association of Israel. PIBF is coordinated in Palestine by staff from Palestine, Israel and Sweden.

Since 2005 we have run a number of programmes in Palestine. The current programme has the objective of increasing international business in the area. We are helping Palestinian companies to create structures required to work internationally. Individual projects include:

  • The school milk programme (NSMP). If children in Palestinian schools get milk with their lunch, it is both good for the children and at the same time creates work for many, from dairy farmers to companies delivering the milk. NIR has been coordinating the programme that this year will see 50,000 children receive milk for lunch every day. It is run by Tetra Pak together with Palestinian producers and the Palestinian Authorities.
  • Support to establish an International Chamber of Commerce, ICC Palestine
  • Support to develop the Jerusalem Arbitration Center JAC, a joint Palestinian/Israeli arbitration institute
  • Training of Swedish guides and staff in the tourism industry in order to increase interest in Palestine as a tourism spot and to increase the utilisation of the Palestinian service sector

If you want to know more about our work in Palestine, please contact Petter Sjöblom.