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Trump administration’s 50bn ‘economic peace plan’ for ME
President Donald Trump holds a photo as he leads a roundtable discussion on border security with local leaders, Friday Jan. 11, 2019, in the White House in Washington. Photo. AP

Trump administration’s 50bn ‘economic peace plan’ for ME

The US is busy pushing a $50 billion economic peace plan for the Middle East which aims to “empower” and “unlock the vast potential of the Palestinian people”. Yet the 40-page document says nothing about why Palestinians are disempowered today. – HRW
Opening the West Bank and Gaza
The plan will reduce constraints on Palestinian economic growth by Opening the West Bank and Gaza to regional and global markets. Major investments in transportation and infrastructure will help the West Bank and Gaza integrate with neighboring economies, increasing the competitiveness of Palestinian exports and reducing the complications of transport and travel. To complement these investments, this plan will also support steps to improve Palestinian cooperation with Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, with the goal of reducing regulatory barriers to the movement of Palestinian goods and people.
Constructing Essential Infrastructure
Essential infrastructure is needed for the Palestinian people and their businesses to flourish. This plan will facilitate billions of dollars of investment in the electricity, water, and telecommunications sectors, increasing generation capacity while creating efficient transmission and distribution networks. The applicable authorities will receive training and assistance to manage this infrastructure and to increase competition to keep costs low for consumers.
Promoting Private-Sector Growth
Following the adoption of key policy reforms and the construction of essential infrastructure, Peace to Prosperity envisions extraordinary private-sector investment in entrepreneurship, small businesses, tourism, agriculture, housing, manufacturing, and natural resources. The goal of early-stage investment will be to remove constraints to growth and to target key projects that build momentum, generate jobs, and increase gross domestic product (GDP). From the father working in his shop to support his family, to the young college graduate building her first company, Palestinians working throughout the private sector will benefit from this plan.
A lasting peace agreement will ensure a future of economic opportunity for all Palestinians.
Strengthening Regional Development and Integration
Peace to Prosperity encourages Strengthening Regional Development and Integration, creates new opportunities for Palestinian businesses, and increases commerce with neighboring countries. This vision will boost the economies of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon and reduce trade barriers across the region. Increased cooperation between trading partners will support companies in these countries, which are seeking to develop international business, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza. The plan will help the Palestinian private sector capitalize on growth opportunities by improving access to strong, neighboring economies.
Peace to Prosperity will unlock the vast potential of the Palestinian people by empowering them to pursue their goals and ambitions. This part of the vision will support the Palestinian people through education, workforce development, and an improved quality of life.
Enhance the Quality of the Education System
Enhancing the Quality of the Education System in the West Bank and Gaza will ensure no Palestinian is disadvantaged by inadequate educational opportunity. This vision supports the development and training of Palestinian educators while expanding access to educational opportunities to underserved communities and demographics. Other projects will help encourage educational reforms and innovation. By providing financial incentives to support the development of improved academic standards and curricula, this plan will help turn the West Bank and Gaza into a center of educational excellence.
Strengthen Workforce Development Programs
Peace to Prosperity will Strengthen Workforce Development Programs, reducing unemployment rates and increasing the occupational mobility of the Palestinian workforce. By supporting apprenticeships, career counseling, and job placement services, this vision will help ensure Palestinian youth are fully prepared to enter the job market and achieve their professional goals. Additional projects will help employed workers receive the training they need to enhance their skills or change careers. Ultimately, this plan will ensure that all Palestinians have access to the tools they need to compete in the global economy and take full advantage of the opportunities offered by this vision.
Transform the Palestinian Healthcare Sector
Peace to Prosperity will provide new resources and incentives to Transform the Palestinian Healthcare Sector and ensure the Palestinian people have access to the care they need within the West Bank and Gaza. This vision will rapidly increase the capacity of Palestinian hospitals by ensuring that they have the supplies, medicines, vaccines, and equipment to provide top-quality care and protect against health emergencies. Other funds will help improve services and standards in Palestinian healthcare facilities. Through targeted investments in new facilities, educational opportunities for medical staff and aspiring healthcare professionals, and public awareness campaigns to improve preventative care, the plan will significantly improve health outcomes throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
Improve the Quality of Life
Peace to Prosperity will support projects that Improve the Quality of Life for the Palestinian people. From investments in new cultural institutions to financial support for Palestinian artists and musicians, the plan will help the next generation of Palestinians explore their creativity and hone their talents. It will also support improved municipal services and the development of new public spaces across the West Bank and Gaza. These developments will help turn the West Bank and Gaza into a cultural and recreational center to the benefit of all Palestinians.
‘While implementing Peace to Prosperity will require significant international support, no vision for the Palestinians can be realized without the full support of the Palestinian people and their leadership.’
Peace to Prosperity encourages the Palestinian public sector to provide the services and administration necessary for the Palestinian people to have a better future. If the government realizes its potential by investing in its people and adopting the foundational elements identified in this plan, job growth will ensue and the Palestinian people and their economy will thrive.
This vision establishes a path that, in partnership with the Palestinian public sector, will enable prosperity.
Transform the Business Environment
The strategy for reform will help the Palestinian public sector Transform the Business Environment by improving private property rights; safeguards against corruption; access to credit; functioning capital markets along with pro-growth policies and regulations; and certainty and predictability for investors that result in economic growth, private-sector job creation, and increased exports and foreign direct investment. Just as the Japanese, South Korean, and Singaporean governments rose to meet the daunting challenges their societies faced at critical times in their respective histories, so too can the Palestinian leadership chart a new course for its people. The plan identifies and addresses the requirements for developing human capital, igniting innovation, creating and growing small and medium businesses, and attracting international companies that will invest in the future of the West Bank and Gaza.
Build the Institutions
Building the Institutions of the Palestinian public sector and enhancing government responsiveness to the people is critical. Through this plan, government attention will be directed to increase judicial independence and grow civil society organizations. A stronger court system will better protect and secure the rights and property of the citizens. More government transparency will help foster trust from Palestinians—and outside investors—that court decisions are made fairly, contracts are awarded and enforced honestly, and business investments are safe.
Improve Government Operations
Peace to Prosperity will Improve Government Operations and the provision of services to the Palestinian people. In line with successful private-sector models, the Palestinian public sector must strive to be fiscally stable, financially independent, caring to its workers, and efficient in providing services to its citizens. The vision will work to eliminate public-sector arrears and implement a budgeting and tax plan that promotes long-term fiscal sustainability, without the need for budget support or donor funds. It will also assist with the adoption of new technologies that can provide Palestinian citizens the ability to directly request and access government support and services. The plan will offer new training and opportunities for civil servants to improve their productivity, help prepare them to meet governance challenges, and make it easier for them to perform their jobs. And, finally, this vision aims to provide government services at low cost and high-efficiency, which will facilitate private-sector growth. – Human Rights Watch