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June 15, 2020 10:33 am

World Bank to Invest $15 Million to Offer IT Jobs to Palestinian Youth

avatar by Adi Pick / CTech

Typing on a computer (illustrative). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – The World Bank has approved a $15 million grant to improve sustainable economic opportunities for Palestinian youth through the information technology (IT) sector, the World Bank announced Friday.

“There are more than 3,000 IT graduates every year from Palestinian universities and most of them do not have a job,” Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza said in a statement. Moreover, he added, the sector is less vulnerable during crises and can accommodate remote work during times like the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic or other restrictions on movement.

“This new project is part of the World Bank’s strategy to invest in a stronger entrepreneurship ecosystem for job creation,” he said.

According to Shankar, the IT sector has the potential to contribute strongly to economic growth and can offer opportunities to Palestinian youth, who constitute 30% of the population in the Palestinian territories and suffer from acute unemployment.

More than a quarter of working-age Palestinians were unemployed even prior to the Covid-19 crisis. Youth unemployment in the West Bank stood at 37% in the fourth quarter of 2019 and an alarming 61% in Gaza, according to data provided by the World Bank. Palestinian women’s participation in the labor force is the lowest in the Middle East and North Africa region, mainly because of mobility restrictions, according to the World Bank’s statement.

The funding offered by the World Bank will target firms and individuals that need upskilling to better meet the needs of clients. The project will also provide seed grants to stimulate private investments in the IT sector, including for research and development.

The project will also stimulate the demand for Palestinian IT services by attracting direct foreign investment, fostering partnerships with global tech companies, and improving market access.

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