UK to invest £38m in economic development in Palestine

UK to invest £38m in economic development in Palestine
© Joi Ito

The UK government will provide a £38m aid package over the next five years to support for economic development in Palestine and pursue peace with Israel.

The UK will support economic development in Palestine, particularly in Gaza and the West Bank, by creating hundreds of jobs, installing water and electricity infrastructure, and boosting the country’s exports to Israel.

The government hopes that its efforts in this area will promote renewed efforts at peace in the region, by encouraging Israeli-Palestinian co-operation, lowering barriers to trade and economic growth, and supporting the financial sustainability of the Palestinian Authority, including by delivering reforms which could significantly improve the authority’s ability to collect millions in uncollected revenues and taxes, which could then be reinvested in education and healthcare.

What specific projects will the UK support?

The UK funding will contribute towards the building of a desalination plant in Gaza, to expand access to clean water in the region, and will fund the installation of solar panels for all houses, business and public buildings to reinforce energy infrastructure.

It will also seek to deliver jobs for Palestinians by connecting them with UK businesses and providing technical support to Palestinian companies by reducing logistics costs and removing barriers to exporting by helping products to meet international standards.

What has the UK said about its aid package for Palestine?

UK Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said that the new funding, as well as a strategy for UK investments in Palestine, would be vital both for the ongoing economic health of the country and for efforts to pursue peace in the region.

He said: “Our new approach to supporting the economy in Gaza and the West Bank will help create desperately needed jobs, boost exports and collect taxes… As well as alleviating the urgent pressures on the Palestinian economy, this will help to create the necessary conditions for a peaceful two-state solution, which would allow Palestinians to truly prosper. For a truly sustainable economic recovery in Gaza, we urge all parties to refrain from actions which make peace more difficult.”

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