News / Middle East

Long-Term Prospects for Palestinian Economy Worsen

Palestinian Nadia Abu Nada holds a picture of her son Ihab Abu Nada, who set himself on fire because he could not find a job, in Gaza City, September 3, 2012.
Palestinian Nadia Abu Nada holds a picture of her son Ihab Abu Nada, who set himself on fire because he could not find a job, in Gaza City, September 3, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
A United Nations agency says the long-term prospects for economic development in the Palestinian territories have worsened. In its annual report on Assistance to the Palestinian People, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development warns growth achieved in 2011 and through early 2012 is not sustainable. 

The economy of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem grew by 9.9 percent last year.

This sounds good. But UNCTAD - the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development - cautions against misconstruing this result.

Indeed, the agency's coordinator for assistance to the Palestinians, Mahmoud Elkhafif, calls this growth rate an illusion because it mainly originates in the Gaza Strip.

“Gaza experienced a destructive war in December 2008 and January 2009," he says."The growth in Gaza is coming because rehabilitating some of the destroyed infrastructure. So, once rebuilding has been done, this source of growth is no longer available. The growth in the West Bank actually is five percent, four percent and also is donor driven, by the way. So, the source of growth that we have seen last year is not sustainable.”

The report paints a grim picture of the economic situation in the Palestinian territories. It says unemployment persists at 26 percent, along with severe poverty and chronic food insecurity. It says conditions are particularly alarming for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, where the poverty rate is estimated at 78 percent higher than the rates in the West Bank and Gaza.

The report says Palestinian development problems have less to do with the Palestinian Authority’s economic policy than with what it calls Israeli occupation.

It says the Israeli economic controls have almost eliminated all domestic and external marketing and investment opportunities, and has eroded the land and natural resources available to Palestinians for economically productive activities.

Economist Elkhafif says a main problem standing in the way of development is Palestinian economic dependence on Israel. He says Palestinian trade suffers from a chronic deficit.

“The trade deficit is about 36 percent of GDP, that is $3.2 billion," says Elkhafif. "About more than 80 percent of this deficit is because of trade with Israel. And, that is another reason why this growth is not sustainable because this growth is attached to development in trade and development in trade is more or less controlled by Israel.”

The report says years of occupation have rendered Palestinian agriculture incapable of realizing its productive and employment potential. It says the agricultural sector’s share of Gross Domestic Product has shrunk from 12 percent in 1995 to 5.5 percent in 2011.

Though Palestinian agriculture is operating at one-quarter of its potential, UNCTAD economists say the sector is resilient and could bounce back. The U.N. agency says the donor community and the Palestinian Authority have neglected this sector and recommends they take corrective measures to compensate.

The U.N. report says an agricultural development bank should be established to provide credit and insurance. It says the bank should support marketing and post-harvest services, as well as funding and guaranteeing investment in agricultural and water infrastructure.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs