Prosperity before peace?
There is an old saying in the financial community that one has to measure the risk and reward ratio each time you value an investment opportunity.
Listening to some of the participants at the Palestine Investment Conference in
U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmit said investing in the
Both were referring to the obvious security challenges posed by roadblocks, security checkpoints and the isolation of
We had a taste of that when we tried to cross over one of the checkpoints and the police did not think we had the right accreditation. Short of clear instructions we travelled ten minutes down the road and went through another checkpoint minus the hassle.
This is life -- this is the challenge of doing business in
600 delegates showed up to the first Palestine Investment Conference. It was a healthy mix of Eastern and Western players. The
Real estate giant Qatari Diar inked a $350 million deal to build a full community. Saudi group Al Ard Al Qabeda chipped in with a $200 million agreement to construct office towers, shopping malls and a hotel, also in the
Maybe not, but it is not far off. It is difficult to do business if you cannot get your goods past a roadblock or determine whether a drive to the factory will take two hours or eight hours.
The reality is investors smell peace in the air and they are being enticed by a whole bucket full of cash committed at the Paris Donors Conference in December. Governments pledged $7.7 billion over the next three years. Ten percent of that has been released so far, with an obvious eye on whether peace talks will progress.
The early movers see opportunity and a large Palestinian diaspora ready to play its part. Three million people live in the
It helps for example that the managing director for the World Bank in the region, Juan Daboub is one of the members of the broader Palestinian community. His grandparents came from
They are supported by Western players who are seeking to “do good” for the
In our interview in a beautiful reconstructed palace in
What Blair and the others were trying to convey is a sense of hope. If peace can be delivered it will be good for
That is all true and right now the region has the wind at its back.
This investment conference was scheduled to take place two years ago but was called off when violence flared.
Deferred but not thrown off, the local businessmen and the diaspora pulled together for another try. Deals are happening and governments have committed funds. Now let’s hope that lasting peace will follow.
ABOUT THIS BLOGJohn Defterios’ blog accompanies the weekly business program, Marketplace Middle East (MME) that is dedicated to the latest financial news from the Middle East. As MME anchor, John Defterios talks to the people in the know, finding out their opinions on the big business moves in the region, he provides his views via this weekly blog. We hope you will join the discussion around the issues raised.
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