The Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII) was created in 2005 in response to the growing economic challenges in the region. MEII was developed through efforts of the Aspen Institute Middle East Strategy Group, under the leadership of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Hagel, in which principals from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) participated.
MEII's inaugural project, a $160 million loan guarantee facility for small and medium sized Palestinian businesses, was incubated between 2005 and 2007. President George W. Bush endorsed U.S. support for the MEII loan guarantee concept in a July 16, 2007 speech when he authorized OPIC's partnership in the facility and stated, "The world can do more to build the conditions for peace."
Soon thereafter MEII helped to increase affordable housing opportunities throughout the region. MEII assisted the development of a $250 million mortgage financing program in Jordan. The project helped the country works towards King Abdullah’s National Housing Initiative, which aimed to construct 20,000 new low-income residences annually over five years.
Building on MEII’s success in Palestine and in response to the Arab Spring, MEII expanded its activities in the region to include operations in Tunisia and recently, Jordan, and has been actively exploring opportunities in Egypt and Morocco.