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World Bank warns of ‘worrying’ outlook for Palestinian economy in West Bank, Gaza

Palestinians, in Gaza City, wait in a queue to withdraw money from cash points after the decision of cutting the salaries by 30% was taken by the government officials on 10 May, 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians wait in a queue to withdraw money from cash points on 10 May 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The World Bank has warned of a “worrying” outlook for the Palestinian economy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, in its latest update published this week.

In “Palestine’s Economic Outlook – April 2018”, the World Bank reports that GDP in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is expected to decrease by 2.5 per cent in 2018 from 2.7 per cent in 2017.

Assuming the “persistence of the Israeli restrictions” on freedom of movement, land usage and so on, as well as “the internal divide” between the West Bank and Gaza”, the World Bank says real GDP growth of the Palestinian economy is projected to decline to 2.3 per cent “over the next two years”.

According to the World Bank, unemployment in the oPt “continued to be high” at 27 per cent in 2017, reaching 44 per cent in the Gaza Strip, compared to 18 per cent in the West Bank.

Read: Palestinian children call for rescuing Gaza from humanitarian crisis

In 2017, only 41 per cent of those aged 15-29 “were active in the labour market”, which the World Bank said reflected “high pessimism regarding employment prospects”.

Despite a low participation rate, unemployment amongst this category reached a “staggering” 60 per cent in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the World Bank also noted “dramatic differences in labour force participation by gender”, with male participation rates reaching 71 per cent in 2017 while women have recent participation rates of 19 per cent.

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