Freshfields helps to secure social impact bond funding to drive employment and skills in Palestine
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’) has provided support to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (‘EBRD’), on the development of a social outcomes contract or development impact bond (‘DIB’), commissioned by the World Bank, designed to tackle youth unemployment in Palestine.
Social outcomes contracts are public private partnerships which bring together private finance, public investment and charity sector expertise to fund and deliver a wide variety of social programmes including in children’s services, health and youth homelessness. They are being used globally and - since the launch of the first social outcomes contract in the UK, in 2010 – 185 have been launched in 32 countries around the world.
This new DIB will fund an initiative in the West Bank and Gaza, which will provide professional training to help more than 1,000 young Palestinians find sustainable employment. An estimated 38 per cent of young people in the West Bank and Gaza are unemployed and the project will help to assess how private sector investment can tackle the skills challenge in Palestine.
Freshfields provided advice on the structure of the DIB and the preparation and negotiation of the outcomes contract. The firm has worked on approximately 60 per cent of the UK’s SIBs to date but this is the first time that the UK model has been used for development purposes.
The training programme will be provided by a number of private sector organisations, beginning in 2020.
Freshfields advised on this DIB as part of its global pro bono practice, through which it provides free legal services in the public interest to a wide range of clients, from individual asylum seekers to some of the world’s largest charities.
Freshfields partner Duncan Kellaway commented: “Through our pro bono practice, we have helped to get a number of social outcomes contracts off the ground. The UK has been at the forefront of this type of funding, and Freshfields has been leading the way in providing legal advice to make these projects happen.”
Michael Strauss, General Counsel at the EBRD said: “The strong result achieved in structuring the project could not have been accomplished without the tireless, patient and highly skilled work of the Freshfields team”.
The Freshfields team was led by partner Duncan Kellaway and associate Matthew Dodwell.
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