Question of Palestine home
25 April 1996
The World Bank
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA
Press Release No. /96/22/MENA
Contact: Jeannie Yamine 202-473-2318
JOB CREATION IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA SUPPORTED BY $20 MILLION FROM THE WORLD BANK
WASHINGTON, APRIL 25, l996—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $20 million credit drawn from the Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank for a second Emergency Rehabilitation Project to help alleviate the economic crisis in Gaza and the West Bank resulting from the deterioration in the security situation and the closure of the Palestinian territories.
The credit funds a total of 40 sub-projects, 33 of which will rehabilitate and improve village access and municipal roads (27 in the West Bank and six in the Gaza Strip). The remaining seven will rehabilitate and extend water supply and wastewater disposal facilities in the Gaza Strip.
This Bank-financed project is expected to create upwards of 225,000 person-days of jobs over the next eight to 10 months, of which at least 77,000 would materialize in the May-July period. Bidding for about half of the sub-projects could begin in late April, with implementation starting in May 1996.
“It is clear that the immediate issue is to give employment to those whose livelihood is interrupted by the closures,” World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said. “The swift design and approval of this West Bank and Gaza emergency credit to create jobs is a good example of the World Bank’s effort to speed up its processes, especially in the area of post-conflict situations,”
Mr. Wolfensohn added.
Sub-Projects (40) Total
Water Supply & Sewerage (7) 4.90
Materials & Equipment 0.34
Roads (33) 10.43
Materials and Equipment 0.77
Design, Preparation, and Management 1.80
TOTAL PROJECT COST 20.00
World Bank staff, working with the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR), prepared this project over a two-week period by identifying priority sub-projects from a wider set of planned, but as yet unfunded, investments.
Although more than 50,000 Palestinian workers were legally employed in Israel before the latest closures, unemployment and underemployment were at a record high of 51 percent in the Gaza Strip and 33 percent in the West Bank. Unemployment is believed to have soared to perhaps two-thirds of the workforce in recent weeks. The proposed credit from the Trust Fund will be on International Development Association (IDA) terms, with 40 years maturity, including a 10-year grace period and no interest.