flag Palestine Palestine: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to adress the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The territories under the administration of the Palestinian Authority are suffering the adverse effects of the regional conflict and the global economic crisis. After contracting 0.7% in 2020, the economy grew an estimated 1.3% in 2021 (Coface) also thanks to the end of military hostilities between Gaza and Israel in May 2021 and the progress of the vaccination campaign. The positive performance was mostly driven by the West Bank while Gaza’s economy remained subdued. The business environment is expected to gradually return to normal and growth should accelerate in 2022 (projected at 1.7%).

Palestine is still bound by the Protocol of Paris signed with Israel in 1994, which gave Israel full control over Palestine's trade and tax revenues for a 5-year period under the assumption such funds would be handed over to the Palestinian National Authority and the agreement would be amended; neither has occurred thus far. The Palestinian Authority's (PA) budgetary freedom of action remains extremely limited. Customs duties are collected by Israel on behalf of the PA before being remitted to the government and it is the primary source of revenue. Coface expects budget performance to remain poor, due to low external aid from Gulf countries, lower EU contribution and high public spending. The domestic debt stock rose from USD 2.3 billion in December 2020 to USD 2.5 billion as of August 2021 (latest data available), with the overall debt-to-GDP ratio estimated at 44.5% at the end of the year. Moreover, a lack of additional financing may force the authorities to reduce social spending, resulting in a contraction in domestic demand. The government budget was negative by 7.7% of GDP in 2020 and 2021 and is expected to decrease only marginally this year (7% - Coface). As per inflation, it picked up to 1.3% in 2021, driven by increased energy prices. Coface expects the rate to rise to 1.7% over the course of 2022. According to the World Bank, priorities include increasing electricity supply and upgrading infrastructure and networks to improve economic growth and enhance public services.

The humanitarian situation has worsened in recent years, particularly in Gaza where nearly 80% of residents depend on some form of aid. Poverty increased to nearly 29% in 2020, equivalent to around 1.4 million people. The conflict between Israel and Gaza in May 2021 added significantly to the region’s poverty, estimated to affect 59% of its population in 2021. Unemployment, which has risen steadily in recent years, disproportionately affects residents of Gaza. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the drop in production, the unemployment rate increased further from an already high level of 23% in 2019 to 27% as of the end of Q3 2021. Although it should gradually decline, its level is expected to remain high in the upcoming future.


Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Israelian Shekel (ILS) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 0.960.820.790.190.18

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Agricultural activities contribute roughly more than 5% of GDP and involve 1.854 million acres (31% of the total West Bank and Gaza Strip area), and informally employs 90% of the population (CEPR; Fanack). Restrictions such as limited access to Area C (where 62.9% of agricultural land is located) enforced by Israel, construction of the Separation Wall, confiscation of land to build settlements, and restrictions on their exports

Industry contributes about 13.1% of GDP, only behind the services sector. Products include extraction of marble, phosphates, asphalt, mud, and glass sand; handicrafts such as textiles, footwear, ceramics, pottery, olive wood, seashells, coloured glass, soap, leather tanning, embroidery, and bamboo products; and food processing.

The services sector accounts for roughly 63.1% of GDP and employs about 62% of the population (Fanack). Services include real estate activities, banking, telecommunications, insurance, transportation, distribution, hotels, and restaurants.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 1,214,0111,275,9691,266,283

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Men activity rate 72.93%71.96%72.81%
Women activity rate 18.35%18.34%19.15%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
The Economist - Palestine
EIN News - Palestine
BBC Country Profile, Israel and Palestinian Territories
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance (Palestinian National Authority) - Arabic
Ministry of National Economy
Palestine Monetary Authority

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Latest Update: February 2023