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World Bank approves $30 million grant to Palestinian Authority

Palestinians are suffering from a lack of funding [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 February, 2019

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The World Bank has approved $30 million grant to the Palestinian Authority as a part of its Development Policy Grant programme.

The World Bank has approved a grant of $30 million to support the Palestinian Authority’s reform program in strengthening fiscal resilience and to help create an economic environment to increase job creation and private investment.

“Within the current stalemate of declining economic growth and squeeze on liquidity, the Development Policy Grant remains a key instrument in supporting both reform priorities and coping with the fiscal problems. Enhancing sustainability and creditworthiness of service providers will not only stimulate economic activities and create jobs but will result in greater citizens’ trust,” said Anna Bjerde, World Bank Acting Country Director for West Bank and Gaza and Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa Region.

This is the ninth in a series of Development Policy Grant programme, worth $340 million, of budget support grants for public sector governance and reforms to encourage transparency.

France and Norway have contributed a total amount of about $26 million to implement policies supported by the World Bank’s programme.

“While the new grant will continue to support progress to improve the Palestinian Authority’ s service delivery in energy, water and health, it is also essential to modernise and improve the legal and regulatory business environment to attract investors and entrepreneurs and to build on a new reform momentum in land administration and cashless mobile payments,” said Damir Cosic, World Bank Senior Economist.

Cash strapped Palestinians

The PA has been strapped for cash since US President Donald Trump halted all aid to Palestinians, perpetuating the already worsening economic situation for Palestinian civilians.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees is currently facing a funding crisis amid Washington’s decision to halt all aid to the agency.

The United States has traditionally been UNRWA's largest contributor, providing around $350 million (300 million euros) a year, but US President Donald Trump has cancelled all support.

United States aid to the Palestinian security services ended last week at the PA's request 's request to preempt lawsuits over alleged support for terrorism.

The PA has demanded the funding stop at the end of January for fear it could expose them to costly lawsuits under the US Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which comes into force on February 1.

"The money will be cut off," senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said at the time.

"We don't want to receive any money if this will take us to court."

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