Mideast: Road map for Palestinian economic independence

EU finances three-part program

24 April, 10:56

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on return to Ramallah after dubmitting statehood bid for Palestine at UN General Assembly [ARCHIVE MATERIAL ] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on return to Ramallah after dubmitting statehood bid for Palestine at UN General Assembly [ARCHIVE MATERIAL ]

    (ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH - The obstacle-strewn political process is not the only road towards the eventual birth of a sovereign Palestinian state. An economic process also exists, for which, among other instruments, a programme for the "Diversification of Trade and Development of Competitiveness" in the Territories has been set up. Funded by the European Union, and in line with plans outlined by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the scheme aims to support the development of a stable and independent Palestinian economy. Financed by the EU in partnership with the National Ministry of the Economy, the Palestinian Trade Organisation (PalTrade) and the association of Palestinian carriers (PCS), the scheme targets the facilitation and optimisation of the contribution already provided by the export of goods and services to the economic growth of the Palestinian Territories and the Gaza Strip.

    "The programme consists of three stages that have already been agreed and well defined," the chief executive of PalTrade, Hanan Taha-Rayyan, tells ANSAmed. "The first concerns the implementation of a trade corridor with neighbouring Arab countries through the promotion of less expensive routes and alternatives to Israeli ones". This stage will see Jordanian and Israeli goods sorting centres compared for costs, bureaucratic obstacles and logistical hurdles. The possibility of creating a logistical goods sorting centre in the Jordan Valley will also be considered. The second stage of the project concerns the creation of a National Export Strategy (NES). The aim of the new body is to promote the development of new strategies in favour of Palestinian exports on the global market. The new development tool will be elaborated by PalTrade, the Ministry of Finance and by a group of associations from the Palestinian public and private sectors. "PalTrade will operate as a link between the public sector, the private sector and the ministry for a five-year period, helping the various players to produce a winning development strategy," Taha-Rayyan adds. Finally, the third stage of the project aims to increase the production and supply of services within the Palestinian economy and on the European market. While the services sector is the most significant contributor to Palestinian GDP, and that which requires the greatest number of people, further development and broadening of the market appears easily achievable. With the Palestinian Territories already part of the EuroMed Free Trade Area, the creation of a common international platform for the exchange and sales of services appears a necessary and fundamental step for the complete development of the economy. (ANSAmed).

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