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World Bank calls for steps to boost Palestinian economy

Palestinian economy, Palestinian currencyRamallah, Palestine : The World Bank, on Tuesday, called on Israel to improve its procedures, at the crossings for Palestinian goods, remove restrictions on access to Area C of the West Bank, and lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, in order to improve the Palestinian economy.

It pointed out that, economic and social gains could be enormous by 2025. The annual growth rate of the Palestinian economy could reach six percent in the West Bank and eight percent in the Gaza Strip, which would create 50,000 and 60,000 new jobs, respectively.

To achieve this growth, the World Bank urged Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community, to create a better enabling environment to run and support business in the Palestinian territories.

In this regard, the report urged to streamline Israeli procedures at border crossings. The average trade costs per transaction for a Palestinian firm are nearly three times as high as for an Israeli firm, and nearly four times for the average duration of the import process.

The report also called for removing the Israeli restrictions on access to Area C, which is under the Israeli security and administrative control. This would enable Palestinian companies to benefit from the only contiguous territory in the West Bank and its comparative advantages in agriculture, mining, and tourism.

Lifting the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since mid-2007, was also one of the report’s proposal, which pointed out that this will open a way for the critical trade movement to rebuild its infrastructure and economy, and to improve the poor living conditions of Gaza’s residents.

According to the report, easing Israeli restrictions could increase the size of the Palestinian economy by 36 percent in the West Bank and 40 percent in the Gaza Strip by 2025.

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