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  • Publication
    Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
    (Washington, DC, 2015-09-30) World Bank
    Palestinians are getting poorer on average for the third year in a row. As evidenced in previous World Bank reports, the competitiveness of the Palestinian economy has been progressively eroding since the signing of the Oslo accords, in particular its industry and agriculture. Even though donor aid had increased government-funded services and fueled consumption-driven growth during 2007 to 2011, this growth model has proved unsustainable. Donor support has significantly declined in recent years and, in any case, aid cannot sustainably make up for inadequate private investment. Thus, growth has started to slow since 2012 and the Palestinian economy contracted in 2014 following the Gaza war. In early 2015, GDP was still lower than it was a year ago. Due to population growth, real GDP per capita has been shrinking since 2013. Unemployment remains high, particularly amongst Gaza’s youth where it exceeds 60 percent, and 25 percent of Palestinians currently live in poverty. Against the backdrop of weak economic growth, reduced donor aid, and temporary suspension of revenue payments by the Government of Israel (GoI), the Palestinian Authority’s reform efforts have not been able to prevent another year with a financing gap. The persistence of this situation could potentially lead to political and social unrest. In short, the status quo is not sustainable and downside risks of further conflict and social unrest are high.
  • Publication
    West Bank and Gaza Investment Climate Assessment : Fragmentation and Uncertainty
    (Washington, DC, 2014-01) World Bank Group
    This Investment Climate Assessment (ICA) seeks to evaluate the conditions under which the Palestinian private sector currently operates in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza strip. This assessment is both an update and expansion on a similar assessment undertaken by the World Bank in 2006. As such, it provides both a snapshot of the investment climate in 2013, as well as a longitudinal view of what has changed in the intervening seven years and, just as importantly, what has not. Where relevant, it also compares indicators of the Palestinian investment climate with those of other countries in the region and beyond. The objective of this assessment is to provide the Palestinian business community, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the international development community with an empirical analysis of the investment climate under which Palestinian businesses operate. The report describes the key constraints on business and investment and identifies reform priorities for those aspects of the investment climate and constraints which are within the PA's control, as well as some policy recommendations for areas outside of the PA's control, but within the domain of development partner assistance agendas and/or Israeli policies. This analysis is intended to inform Palestinian policy-maker actions to improve the business environment. It can also help inform the actions of other concerned parties, including the international development community, regional actors, and the Government of Israel regarding policies that affect Palestinian economic growth and sustainability.
  • Publication
    Fiscal Crisis, Economic Prospects: The Imperative for Economic Cohesion in the Palestinian Territories, Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09-23) World Bank
    Economic growth in West Bank and Gaza (WB&G) slowed in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012. The real growth rate is estimated to have reached 5.6 percent, more than three percentage points lower than the Q1 2011 growth figure and almost one percent lower than the growth forecast contained in the Palestinian Authority's (PA's) budget. This decline is attributed to a major slowdown in Gaza, where real growth decreased from 21.3 percent to 6 percent on a year-on-year basis. The slowdown in Gaza during Q1 of 2012 was mainly attributed to a major decline in the agriculture and fishing sector, which offset much of the growth witnessed in other sectors. This sector shrank by 43 percent in Q1 2012 due to frequent power outages resulting from the lack of fuel in Gaza. Nevertheless, other sectors in Gaza expanded and the highest growth levels were witnessed in the construction, and hotels and restaurants sectors. In the West Bank, growth in Q1 2012 was broadly unchanged from its 2011 level. Most of the growth was from an expansion of services, which contributed around 2.2 percentage points of the 5.4 percent total growth in Q1 2012. The recent slowdown in economic growth is also reflected in higher unemployment levels. Overall unemployment in WB&G was 20.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 18.7 percent during the same period in 2011. A serious concern in WB&G is the high level of youth unemployment that is accompanied by low youth participation in the labor force.
  • Publication
    West Bank and Gaza - Investment Climate Assessment : Unlocking the Potential of the Private Sector
    (Washington, DC, 2007-03) World Bank
    It is the purpose of this Investment Climate Assessment (ICA) to look at what hinders the move of the Palestinians to new markets and what can be done to encourage it. The ICA reveals that shrinking market access and the lack of free movement are the main constraints to growth for Palestinian enterprises. Relative to other countries in the region, the Palestinian investment climate is good: petty corruption is low, the bureaucracy is relatively efficient and financial markets are well developed. Despite this, Palestinian enterprises have not invested enough to maintain their international competitiveness. However, the report points out that the growing settlements and movement restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities for security reasons overshadow all other elements of the investment climate. The restrictions close off markets, raise transaction costs and prevent producers from guaranteeing delivery dates. The closures also serve to keep firms small and prevent them from attaining minimum efficient scale. The ICA policy recommendations fall into three broad categories: movement and access, the investment climate, and enterprise capabilities. For the Palestinian private sector to fulfill its potential and create the jobs required by the rapidly expanding population, all three of these areas must be addressed. However, re-establishing free movement and access, while maintaining Israeli security, is the sine qua non for a viable Palestinian economy. Without a concerted political effort to re-open markets and lower transaction costs the Palestinian private sector is bound to fail.