The Palestinian government award financial grants to support the Palestinian technology ecosystem
The Palestinian Ministries of National Economy (MoNE) and of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT) jointly awarded the first batch of grants to Palestinian companies under the Gaza Tech and Innovative Recovery and COVID-19 Relief Programs in simultaneous signing ceremonies held in Ramallah and in Gaza on 13 October 2021.
The ceremony was attended by H.E. Mr. Khaled Al Osaily, Minister of National Economy, H.E. Dr. Ishaq Sader, Minister of Telecom and IT, Mr. Kanthan Shankar, the World Bank Country Director and Mr. Kees Van Baar, the Netherlands Head of Mission for Palestine, in addition to the presence of the program grantees from both the West Bank and Gaza.
The collaboration employs a financial structure with a total of $3.5 million USD of grants to fund tech or tech enabled startups, innovative SMEs, and IT services firms to provide financial support to the Palestinian companies that have been affected by the recent war on Gaza, or by the consequences of the pandemic. The support aims to enable the companies to recover from losses to their business operations, financials and infrastructure including through job continuity and creation.
The two relief and recovery programs build on wider efforts by the MoNE and MTIT to promote economic growth and job creation, through the Innovative Private Sector Development project (IPSD) and Technology for Youth and Jobs project (TechStart), with funding from the World Bank.
“We are very pleased to be signing these grant agreements today” said Mr. Khaled Al Osaily, Minister of National Economy. “The Palestinian private sector has an essential role to our health as a nation and as an economy, and no doubt, the growing technological sector is key. We put forward these large-scale relief programs as part of our comprehensive plan for economic recovery. With this funding for private sector economic development, we are strengthening our support for startups and small and medium sizes businesses on their path to short-term recovery and long-term success. We are committed to the strengthening the Palestinian economy and are here to ensure that companies survive the challenges and grow.’’
At the same time, the ceremony celebrated the additional financing provided by the government of Netherlands to support the mission of the MTIT’s Palestine Technology for Youth and Jobs project (TechStart) which works on developing and implementing interventions to promote entrepreneurship within the Palestinian IT sector to create jobs and help companies pursue expansion opportunities in domestic and international markets.
In his remarks, Dr. Ishaq Sider, stated: “The government’s partnership with the World Bank and the government of Netherlands is contributing significantly to our efforts in guiding and supporting the tech ecosystem to diversify services and build trust among international markets, in addition to investing in the most important resource: our people.” Dr. Sider added: “Ensuring that IT services businesses have the needed job retainment and growth through the financial support available to weather the crisis, which has now become more essential than ever, Dr. Sider continued; TechStart programs will offer, in addition to capital assistance, technical assistance to help firms grow, develop and scale”.
World Bank Country Director Kanthan Shankar added: “Our partnership with the PA and international donors to support the Palestinian private sector is vital to overcoming challenges, encouraging sectoral growth and alleviating the high unemployment. The World Bank views Palestinian tech and innovation as an important contributor to Palestinian economic development and digitalization. The Palestinian IT sector has a lot to offer, especially in creating employment opportunities for youth and women. We hope that our programs help tech and tech-enabled companies recover from the effects of the pandemic and latest conflict in Gaza.”