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West Bank Economy

    Economy—overview: Economic conditions in the West Bank—where economic activity is governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority—have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36.1% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies—the imposition of generalized border closures in response to security incidents in Israel—which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious negative social effect of this downturn has been the emergence of chronic unemployment; average unemployment rates in the WBGS during the 1980s were generally under 5%, by the mid-1990s this level had risen to over 20%. Since 1997 Israel's use of comprehensive closures has decreased and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor. These positive changes to the conduct of economic activity, combined with international donor pledges of over $3 billion made to the Palestinian Authority in November, may fuel a moderate economic recovery in 1999.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$3.1 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 33%
    industry: 25%
    services: 42% (1995 est., includes Gaza Strip)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.6% (1997 est.)

    Labor force: NA
    note: excluding Israeli settlers

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 13%, industry 13%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 12%, construction 8%, other services 54% (1996)

    Unemployment rate: 17.3% (1997 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $816 million
    expenditures: $866 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)
    note: includes Gaza Strip

    Industries: generally small family businesses that produce cement, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: NA kWh
    note: most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; at the same time, some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nabulus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: NA%
    hydro: NA%
    nuclear: NA%
    other: NA%

    Electricity—consumption: NA kWh

    Electricity—exports: NA kWh

    Electricity—imports: NA kWh

    Agriculture—products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products

    Exports: $781 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

    Exports—commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone

    Exports—partners: Israel, Jordan

    Imports: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

    Imports—commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials

    Imports—partners: Israel, Jordan

    Debt—external: $108 million (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $NA

    Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot; 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

    Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1—4.2260 (November 1998), 3.4494 (1997), 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1—0.7090 (January 1999), 0.7090 (1998), 0.7090 (1997), 0.7090 (1996), 0.7005 (1995), 0.6987 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)