Promoting minority economic sectors: Israeli case study

Governments around the world are berated for not helping small businesses, which statistically generate over 90% of a typical economy’s wealth.  And it is only a further small step for politicians to ignore the needs of minority groupings.

In the past few months, Israel has launched a major campaign to tackle this problem. It has been spearheaded by the Export Institute, an arm of the Ministry of Industry.

The Arab Business Conference in Nazereth proved to be a launching pad for a multi year strategy, supported by a budget of hundreds of million of shekels.  The fund will provide consultancy services, training and marketing facilities to export focussed firms in the Arab sector. Significantly, the conference was attended by both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

On its own, this strategy will not be enough to drive forward the Arab economy. However, to be fair, Israel has invested considerable resources in the past year in assisting the Palestinian economy. A 5 chapter report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs details some of the recent measures taken: –

For example, in 2009, trade between the two areas increased by nearly 3%, despite the recession. Over 5% more Palestinians were employed in Israel. Several crossing points, such as Gilboah-Jalamah, have been upgraded, facilitating the transfer of goods. Numerous water disposal and / or sewage improvement projects were implemented. The list of public and commercial initiatives is extensive.

Of equal significance is that despite the upsurge in terrorist activity in early 2010, these projects continue to operate and have even been extended. For example, more commercial crossing points are being developed, such as on the 443 road between Jerusalem and Modi’in.

Argue that this is not enough, and you may have a point. However, these are excellent starting points. They need to be supported by similar efforts on the Palestinian side. They serve as a lesson for many other economies around the world.

Explore posts in the same categories: Business, Israel, Palestinians

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