RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - A plan by Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to put economic development for the Palestinians ahead of statehood has been greeted with skepticism by West Bank entrepreneurs.
Here are some key facts about the Palestinian economy and some of the leading Palestinian companies:
* The economy has shrunk since 1999, from a GDP of $4.511 billion to $4.133 in 2007.
* GDP per capita stood at $1,177 in 2007.
* Unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2007 was estimated at 21.5 percent, rising to 27.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008.
* The new Israeli shekel is the standard currency in the West Bank and Gaza. The Jordanian dinar and the U.S. dollar are also accepted. Annual shekel inflation is currently about 3.5 percent.
* Principal exports are limestone and marble, olive oil, medical herbs, flowers, drugs and other commodities, with a total value of $392 million in 2007, compared to $401 million in 2000.
* There are 21 banks operating in Palestinian territories with 195 branches: 10 Palestinian banks, eight Jordanian, two Egyptian and one foreign. The total paid up capital of the banks is $650 million, with total assets of $7.4 billion, and total credit facilities of $1.8 billion and $5.7 billion in deposits.
Here are some of the leading Palestinian companies:
* PALTEL, the first and only Palestinian telecommunications company, with $126 million in net profit in 2008.
* Bank of Palestine, the largest Palestinian bank, established in 1960, with an authorised capital of $1 billion. The bank’s net profit for 2008 was $23.1 million.
* PADIC, Palestinian Development and Investment Limited, was established in 1993 as an offshore international investment holding company, investing in telecommunications, finance, agriculture, tourism and real estate. Its 2008 net profit was $23.2 million.
* The Arab Palestinian Investment Company, APIC, is involved in the manufacturing, distribution and services sector in the Palestinian territories. It earned a net $8 million in 2008.
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