Beyond Aid

Responsible Party and Year Completed: The Portland Trust and Partners, 2013


Status: Completed

Contact: Hugo Tay –

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Executive Summary:

From 2006 to 2011, the Palestinian economy experienced significant growth, largely fueled by substantial international aid and public sector expansion. However, this growth model proved unsustainable, especially as aid levels decreased, leading to a fiscal crisis and limited further public sector expansion.


With the private sector identified as crucial for economic rebalancing, this report explores investment opportunities in five high-potential sectors: Agriculture, IT & Digital Entrepreneurship, Tourism, Construction, and Energy. These sectors offer the promise of adding $8bn to GDP, creating over 370,000 jobs by 2030, and enhancing economic resilience.


The report, through extensive consultation and analysis, outlines specific initiatives and projects within these sectors that could drive sustainable growth and job creation, highlighting the importance of private sector leadership in achieving economic independence for Palestine.

Short term priorities:

  • Invest in renewable energy projects and the installation of solar PV panels to reduce energy import dependency.
  • Launch targeted education programs in IT and digital entrepreneurship to address skill gaps and enhance sector growth.
  • Initiate construction sector reforms to improve coordination, reduce costs, and address the affordable housing shortage.

Long term priorities:

  • Develop the agricultural sector into a Middle East hub for high-value crops through modern water technologies and increased irrigation.
  • Position Palestine as a leading destination in tourism by developing ‘tourism hubs’ and expanding facilities for key tourist segments.
  • Scale up the construction sector to meet housing demands and capture more value chain segments, potentially doubling its contribution to GDP.

Immediate Priorities / Proposed Next Steps:

  • Formulate a Coordinating Committee of business leaders to oversee progress across sectors.
  • Identify ‘champions’ for each catalytic project to drive implementation and gather support.
  • Organise investor conferences to attract funding and interest in the identified sectors and projects, ensuring collective action for effective project design, operation, and replication.