An Exercise in Helping the PA: The World Bank

March 6, 2005

The World Bank has consistently maintained that the Palestinian economy will only recover once transparency and proper government is introduced within the Palestinian Authority, and, in parallel, Israeli closure measures are lifted. The later can only be performed, once security has been guaranteed.

As agreed at the London conference, the World Bank will begin to publish quarterly reports on the Palestinian economy, the first one is expected at the beginning of April 2005.

Meanwhile, the Arab media has reported the latest comments from the World Bank on the role that donor aid can play in resolving poverty in the Palestinian territories.

"Money cannot fix" Palestinian woes

Published: 3 March 2005

LONDON: International financial aid will not improve life for Palestinians until fundamental political reform is undertaken by their government, a World Bank official said here yesterday.

"You cannot substitute donor assistance and money for a fundamental change in the policy environment," Nigel Roberts, the organisation's country director for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, told a Press conference.

"This remains one of the major messages that we try to convey both to the Palestinian leadership and the donors community," he said. "If the policy environment is wrong, money cannot fix it."

Roberts' critique of Palestinian affairs came a day after an international meeting held in the British capital to support reforms promised by new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian Authority expects to receive $1 billion in donor aid this year with an emergency instalment from both the US and Japan of $131 million this month, a Palestinian official said.

The donations would be used to help the economically troubled Palestinian Authority as well as for developing the infrastructure.

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