Should the United States Create a West Bank/Gaza Enterprise Fund (WGEF)?



Daniel F. Runde|Brookings Institute

It is in the interest of the United States to explore the creation of an enterprise fund for the West Bank and Gaza as part of its continuing efforts to foster peace and prosperity in the Middle East. With the growth of joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures and people-to-people exchanges facilitated by an enterprise fund, the United States can create the common entrepreneurial ground on which a more robust peace process can stand. The spread of Covid-19 has shuttered schools and businesses and limited public gatherings in places such as markets, increasing the financial stress felt by many in the region. The pandemic has also exacerbated youth unemployment, which now stands at 42 percent, illustrating there is an acute need for social and economic opportunities. Post-COVID-19, employment prospects may more easily improve if, alongside a lightening of the political climate, there is greater access to capital. The deployment of innovative financial instruments to spur private sector growth can prompt dramatic socioeconomic changes in the West Bank and Gaza.


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