Gaza Strip/Economy

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Economy - overview: Economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority since the Cairo Agreement of May 1994 - have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies - the imposition of generalized border closures in response to security incidents in Israel - which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious negative social effect of this downturn has been the emergence of chronic unemployment; average unemployment rates in the WBGS during the 1980s were generally under 5%; by the mid-1990s this level had risen to over 20%. Since 1997 Israel's use of comprehensive closures has decreased and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor. In October 1999, Israel permitted the opening of a safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in accordance with the 1995 Interim Agreement. These changes to the conduct of economic activity have fueled a moderate economic recovery in 1998-99.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.17 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4.6% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,060 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 33%
industry: 25%
services: 42% (1995 est., includes West Bank)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (includes West Bank) (1999 est.)

Labor force: NA

Labor force - by occupation: services 66%, industry 21%, agriculture 13% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 14.5% (includes West Bank) (1998 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.6 billion
expenditures: $1.73 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA
note: includes West Bank (1999 est.)

Industries: generally small family businesses that produce textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale modern industries in an industrial center

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Israel

Agriculture - products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products

Exports: $682 million (includes West Bank) (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

Exports - commodities: citrus, flowers

Exports - partners: Israel, Egypt, West Bank

Imports: $2.5 billion (c.i.f., 1998 est.) (includes West Bank)

Imports - commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials

Imports - partners: Israel, Egypt, West Bank

Debt - external: $108 million (includes West Bank) (1997 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $800 million pledged (includes West Bank) (1999)

Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 - 4.2260 (November 1999), 3.8001 (1998), 3.4494 (1997), 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year