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Occupied Palestinian Territories to benefit from improved trade and economic opportunities with support from Cowater International News

22 February, 2021

OTTAWA, February 22, 2021 – Cowater International has been selected to manage the delivery of a new, multi-year programme funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The Trade Facilitation and Customs Support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories programme, known as TASDEER (Arabic for ‘export’), is a three-year (2020-23), £15 million GBP programme, which aims to support economic growth, job creation, export development and improved trade and customs institutions and policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). TASDEER is implemented in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Finance.

The British Consul General in Jerusalem, Philip Hall stated,The OPTs has a large trade deficit, not least because of the regulatory framework, including the Occupation. The difficulties of importing and exporting goods harm businesses, lower economic growth and increase unemployment rates. The Covid 19 pandemic has made the situation worse. This programme is part of the UK’s efforts to support the Palestinian Authority and help Palestinians overcome these challenges by promoting trade, increasing exports and creating jobs, especially for women and young people.”

The OPTs are facing a series of challenges in the area of trade and customs. Existing restrictions increase transaction costs and time, with trade-related institutions lacking the capacity to formulate and execute effective policies. Moreover, the OPTs do not control the majority of their customs clearance processes, as a result of which the Palestinian Authority is losing potential tax revenues due to undervaluation of imports and under-reported bilateral trade. The overall business and political environment is unattractive to domestic and foreign investors, and most local businesses are small, with limited export capacity. The OPTs’  large trade deficit is contributing to slow economic growth, high unemployment, and is making the fiscal situation unsustainable.

Under the TASDEER programme, Cowater International and its consortium partners will work with Palestinian institutions and the private sector to expedite the movement of goods and reduce transaction costs, improve the trade-enabling environment, strengthen the competitiveness of the private sector to export, and improve OPTs’ customs capacity. The programme has an integrated focus on gender and social inclusion, with a strong emphasis on supporting inclusive growth and economic opportunities, including for the most vulnerable.

President and CEO of Cowater International, David Baron highlighted, “Cowater International is delighted to be supporting the UK Government’s development priorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We have extensive global experience in strengthening trade and customs institutions and policies and we look forward to deploying our expertise to support the Palestinian Authority in creating better economic opportunities for people and businesses.” 

Founded in 1985, Cowater International is a leading global development consulting company. Headquartered in Ottawa and with corporate hubs in Brussels, London (UK), Montreal and Nairobi, Cowater International has successfully delivered a portfolio of over 2500 projects and assignments in more than 95 countries. We work with governments, private sector actors and communities implementing projects that support socio-economic development, institutional strengthening, environmental improvements and advance equal opportunities for all. We are a diverse and experienced team committed to building a better tomorrow for the people we serve.

Media contact:

Victor Neagu, Director of Communications and Marketing; e-mail: victor.neagu@cowater.com

Market near Ramallah’s main mosque. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank

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