Caroline Anstey, from the Global Arab Network at the World Bank, identified how development is extremely challenging to achieve in places where conflict, war, or any kind of political instability is present. In particular, she shed light on Palestinian development. She expressed how there were little improvements, which marked the light at the end of the tunnel, such as students learning animation skills at an institute, roads being paved to facilitate transportation, and access to health and education. However, despite those, the 50% unemployment rate marks a hopeless and almost helpless Palestinian economy.

There has been some success, according to Anstey.  “Since 2004, 11 countries have graduated from fragile status.” However, she emphasizes that it takes a certain sustainable commitment to end cycles of violence and develop a country, a commitment that remains “long after the cameras leave.” Each country is different, and so it might take different approaches to fulfill each country’s needs. In the Palestinian case, development work and projects can meet immediate needs and offer short-term solutions to help better prepare for the future. On a different note, it is crucial to recognize that no real substantial long-term development can happen in Palestine without a political solution.

On the bright side, Palestine is one of the countries that met the U.N. Millennium Goals because they halved the number of people living on less than almost 1 dollar a day. According to Anstey, the World Bank has worked directly with the Palestinian Authority on “social safety net reform[s]” where they reached out to the poorest Palestinians and offered them cash transfers. Just as well, social safety nets in Palestine have not been costly in relation to GDP and have been successful in reaching out to the poorest Palestinians, those who truly needed help and qualified.

Anstey realizes that in order to achieve tangible development results, solutions must be crafted specifically to meet each distinct circumstance, for again, not all countries have the same needs.

– Leen Abdallah
Source: Global Arab Network