World Bank: Israel Barriers the Digitalization of Palestinian Economy

Ramallah, MINA – An international economic report issued by the World Bank states that the Israeli occupation is hampering the digitization of the Palestinian economic transformation.

“In fact, the Palestinian economic transition to a digital economy will improve Palestinian conditions and can save them from the financial crisis,” the report stated on Wednesday.

Quoting Quds Press, an assessment of the Palestinian digital economy has not yet been fully realized, despite progress made.

Palestine’s digital transformation will help create new jobs, close the gender gap and boost economic growth, according to the report.

The report also mentions internal difficulties within the Palestinian Authority.

The report added that the transition to e-commerce and digital financial services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was slow and still on a small scale. Palestine’s main payment methods still use cash and checks.

The World Bank called on Palestine to strengthen competition in the market, update the e-transaction law, and enact laws on consumer protection and cybersecurity.

The World Bank’s representative in the West Bank and Gaza, Kanthan Shankar, said the Palestinians have “all the capabilities needed to rapidly transition to a digital economy, where the development of a digital economy is a national priority for the Palestinian Authority.”

“It is important to ensure that there are strong policies related to the digital agenda to facilitate inter-agency and cross-sectoral coordination,” he continued.

The World Bank indicated that there are Israeli restrictions imposed on imports of information and communication technology equipment, frequency spectrum allocation, and traffic rights in Area C.

“This is the biggest obstacle to the establishment of digital infrastructure and achieving connectivity,” he added.

According to the Global ICT Development Index, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are below the developing country average in terms of broadband digital penetration. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)