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Unholy War: How Israel’s 2014 offensive has left Gaza in shambles

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Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza’s economy and the unemployment rate is now the highest in the world according to the latest World Bank economic update. The report will be presented to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a forum of donors to the Palestinian Authority, at the bi-annual meeting in Brussels on May 27, 2015.

The 2014 war has reduced Gaza’s GDP by about US$460 million. Construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and electricity sectors were hit the most with output reductions of 83 per cent in the construction sector in the second half of 2014 and roughly 50 per cent in these other sectors. Gaza became a major source of deficit and the fiscal burden on the Palestinian Authority’s finances amplified by the internal divide. While about 43 per cent of PA’s expenditures are spent in Gaza, only 13 per cent of its revenues come from Gaza.

The report estimates that Gaza’s GDP would have been about four times higher than it currently is if it weren’t for the conflicts and the multiple restrictions. It also states that the blockade in place since 2007 has shaved around 50 percent off Gaza’s GDP.  Unemployment in Gaza is the highest in the world at 43 per cent. Even more alarming is the situation of youth unemployment which soared to more than 60 per cent by the end of 2014.

“Gaza’s unemployment and poverty figures are very troubling and the economic outlook is worrying. The current market in Gaza is not able to offer jobs leaving a large population in despair particularly the youth,” said Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “The ongoing blockade and the 2014 war have taken a toll on Gaza’s economy and people’s livelihoods. Gaza’s exports virtually disappeared and the manufacturing sector has shrunk by as much as 60 per cent. The economy cannot survive without being connected to the outside world.”

Gaza’s real GDP is only a couple of percentage points higher now than it was 20 years ago in 1994, while the population growth is estimated to have increased by about 230 per cent over the same period. Consequently, real per capita income in Gaza is 31 per cent lower now than in 1994.

Gaza’s population suffers from poor access and quality of basic public services such as electricity, water, and sewerage.  Nearly 80 per cent of Gaza’s population receives some kind of social assistance, and nearly 40 per cent of them still fall below the poverty line. While shocking, these numbers fail to fully convey the difficult living conditions that nearly all Gaza’s residents have been experiencing.

“Even more shocking is the reality that most of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents are confined to an area of 160 km square and are not able to travel beyond this area without permits. According to the Washington-based Center for Mind-Body-Medicine, as many as one-third of Gaza’s children showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder even before the 2014 armed conflict, now even more,” said Jorgensen.

Source: World Bank

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India will become High-Middle Income Country by 2047, says World Bank CEO

World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she has no doubt that India will be a high-middle income country by 2047.

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World Bank CEO
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. IANS.

New Delhi, Nov 4: Lauding India’s increasing per capita income, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she has no doubt that India will be a high-middle income country by 2047 when it completes its centenary year of independence.

“In the last three decades, India’s per capita income has quadrupled. I have no doubt India when it hits its century of independence in 2047, will be a high-middle income country,” Georgieva said while addressing India’s Business Reforms conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra here.

Georgieva praised India for its sudden jump of 30 ranks in 2017, the biggest leap ever, in the history of the ease of doing business.

World Bank CEO
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia.

“We are here to celebrate a very impressive achievement. In 15 years of the history of the ease of doing business, such a jump of 30-ranks in one year is very rare. In cricket, I understand that hitting a century is a big milestone.”

ALSO READ: Doing business in India is easier now!

She hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “high-level ownership” efforts and “championship of reforms” that led to achieve India such a ranking in ease of doing business.

Reminding Guru Nanak Dev’s preachings, the World Bank CEO said: “Today is also the anniversary of Guru Nanak which reminds me of his words that whatever seed is sown, the plant will grow thus.” (IANS)

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Doing business in India easier now: Modi

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Modi
Doing business in India easier now: Modi

New Delhi, November 3, 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday invited global investors to do business in India, which he said was “easier now” after his government repealed archaic laws and launched attractive fiscal incentives.

Describing India as “one of the fastest growing economies” in the world, Modi said it was an opportune time for global businesses to invest in the country.

 “India has jumped 30 ranks this year in the World Bank’s (Ease of) Doing Business rankings. India was ranked number one in the world in 2016 in greenfield investment.

“India is also rapidly progressing on the Global Innovation Index, Global Logistics Index and Global Competitiveness Index,” Modi told the gathering of global businessmen at the inauguration of World Food India 2017 here.

Billed as the biggest congregation of global investors and business leaders of major food companies, the three-day event aims to transform the food economy and realise the government’s vision of doubling famers’ income by establishing India as a preferred investment destination and sourcing-hub for the global food processing industry.

“Private sector participation has been increasing in many segments of the value chain. However, more investment is required in contract farming, raw material sourcing and creating agri-linkages. This is a clear opportunity for global chains.”

Modi said India offered single window clearance for investors and had launched attractive fiscal incentives.

“There are opportunities in post-harvest management, like primary processing and storage, preservation infra, cold chain and refrigerated transportation.

“There is also immense potential for food processing and value addition in areas such as organic and fortified foods.”

He said food processing was a way of life in India that had been practiced for ages.

“Simple, home-based techniques, such as fermentation, have resulted in the creation of our famous pickles, papads, chutneys and murabbas that excite both the elite and the masses across the world.”

Modi said farmers were central to India’s efforts in food processing and as such the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana to create world-class food processing infrastructure.

“This will leverage investment of $5 billion, benefit two million farmers and create more than half a million jobs.”

The food event will host over 2,000 participants and 200 companies from around 30 countries.

Apart from representatives of 28 states, it will also see participation of 18 ministerial and business delegations, nearly 50 global CEOs along with heads of all leading domestic food processing companies.(IANS)

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UN General Assembly: Pakistan Representative Maleeha Lodhi goofs up, labels Gaza photo as Kashmir’s

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Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly
Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly

United Nations, Sep 24: In a failed attempt to counter India at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi tried to pass off a distorted fact. She displayed a disturbing picture of Gaza and labelled it as the “face of Indian democracy”.

Lodhi was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s description of Pakistan as a “pre-eminent export factory for terror” at UN General Assembly 2017.

The photo, Lodhi displayed at the UN General Assembly to show Indian “atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir was of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom. In reality, the picture is of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, where two Israeli airstrikes hit Rawya Abu Jom, family’s apartment in Gaza.

Exercising the Right of Reply, Maleeha Lodhi accused India of “crimes against humanity” and of carrying out a “campaign of brutality” in the Kashmir Valley. To prove her point, she held the photo of the girl whose face was riddled with wounds.

The photo has been featured in many photo galleries online, including by the New York Times and the Guardian.(IANS)