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In Gaza, light gold coins help the poor to save

September 7, 2023 at 1:20 pm

Stacks of gold coins [pxfuel]

A Gaza dentist has developed ultra-lightweight gold coins to allow people without much money to access one of the most widely used savings methods across the Middle East.

“The idea stemmed from the community’s need to own gold amid the difficult living conditions the people live in,” said Ahmed Hamdan, who developed the coins, which range in weight from half a gramme to ten grammes.

“We have made gold available to people of all categories, gold that even the poor and those with low income can get some,” Hamdan said.

The 21-carat-gold coin, which bears the image of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem on one face with the word Palestine underneath, is licensed and stamped by the Ministry of Economy in Gaza.

However, Osama Nofal, the head of policy at Gaza Economy Ministry, stressed the coins were not legal tender.

“It mustn’t be interpreted as if it were a future currency. It is no more than a way of saving,” he said.

As a result of Israel’s over 70-year occupation, Palestinians have no currency of their own and use the euro, US dollar, Israeli shekel, and Jordanian dinar in their daily lives. As in many parts of the Middle East, mistrust of banks means many people prefer to keep their savings in gold.

Adel Al-Rafati, a public servant, bought 3.5 grammes over the past three months and is happy with his new growing insurance.

“I can’t buy heavy grams, but these tiny grams are easier to get. I can save because gold is a safer haven than other currencies,” he said outside the gold store.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.