Building Blocks to Growth
What could turn out to be a pivotal meeting in
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the Berlin Conference in Support of Palestinian Civil Security and pulled in some favors it seems to bring the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, the European Union's Javier Solana, the Arab League's Amr Moussa, plus two key players from the region -- Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
This was dubbed a working session designed to produce concrete results. While the subject of setting up structures for the police and judiciary in the Palestinian Territories may not be headline grabbing; the results illustrate there is commitment, if not a Palestinian state to hang it on. The effort again attracted a handsome sum, $242 million in pledges. This follows the $7.7 billion pledged at the Paris Donors conference last December. Chancellor Merkel described the meeting as a “small mosaic piece” in the larger picture being constructed in the region.
Having travelled to
Sir Ronald Cohen, chairman of the Portland Trust, is one of them. Sir Ronald made his name as co-founder of Apax Partners, a leading private equity house in
In an interview for Marketplace Middle East, the
Sir Ronald draws parallels to
“If you can manage to have an improving economic climate … then it will have a beneficial impact on the security situation and also the receptivity of the population to go for a peace agreement.”
Asked to weigh what he knows best, the risk-reward ratio in the territories, Sir Ronald is optimistic. He describes it as “an opportunity not to be missed” and points to a recent real estate investment by Qatari Diar as evidence this view is shared throughout the region.
The economy at -- $4 billion -- is tiny by global standards. There has been a 40 percent drop in five years, but with a literacy rate of 97 percent, the potential is there. Like neighboring
Like the very active Palestinian diaspora which has been willing to put their money and skills to work, the Egyptian Jew says his first eleven years of life in
“Having lived in
Let’s see if the money and know-how from within the region and from other financial capitals around the world can deliver both prosperity and co-existence.
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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