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The Rebuilding of Gaza Amid Dire Conditions: Damage, Losses, and Needs

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A tower block lies in ruins in Gaza city following an Israeli air strike. © UNRWA/Mohamed Hinnawi

The eleven days of hostilities in May 2021 in Gaza resulted in the loss of over 260 people, including 66 children and 41 women, and exacerbated previous traumas in particular among children. The human toll was aggravated by overall damage and losses to the social, infrastructure, and productive and financial sectors. A Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) reveals up to US$380 million in physical damage and US$190 million in economic losses. Recovery needs have been estimated up to US$485 million during the first 24 months.  

The Gaza RDNA was conducted between May 25 to June 25, 2021 in partnership between the World Bank Group, United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) immediately after the cessation of hostilities and in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and in consultation with the civil society and private sector in Gaza. While the RDNA’s estimates are preliminary, they are critical to identify priority interventions.

“This is yet another unfortunate episode in which the Palestinian people in Gaza saw themselves in the midst of conflict and destruction. The humanitarian crisis is worsened in an economy with very limited ties to the outside world. Gaza’s GDP may contract by 0.3% in 2021 compared to an estimated 2.5% annual growth before the conflict. With this assessment, we hope to mobilize donors’ support to help restore dignified living conditions and livelihoods in Gaza, and lead the way to recovery.”  said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

The recent hostilities have done more damage to already faltering socioeconomic conditions. Palestinians in Gaza have suffered from the cumulative costs, human and economic, of recurrent hostilities over the last three decades, as well as prolonged restrictions on the movement of people and commercial goods at border crossings, limits to fishing off Gaza’s coast, and now the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The alarming unemployment rate in Gaza is roughly 50% and more than half of its population lives in poverty. Following May’s hostilities, 62% of Gaza’s population were food insecure.

According to the RDNA, the estimated value of the physical damage caused by the conflict ranged between US$290 to US$380 million. The social sectors were hit the most (US$140 – 180 million), making up more than half of the total damage. Housing alone represents almost 93% of the total damage to the social sectors. The second most-severely-affected sectors are the productive and financial sectors, with agriculture and services, trade and industry at the fore.

The conflict generated economic losses (interrupted economic flows, production and services) that ranged between US$105 to US$190 million. Once again, the social sectors were the most affected with about 87% of losses caused by added health and social protection costs and unemployment. The conflict significantly weakened livelihoods and the safety nets of the most vulnerable. 

The cessation of hostilities reached last month has largely held but remains fragile. The UN is continuing its diplomatic engagements with all concerned parties to solidify the ceasefire. In the meantime, we are also ensuring that we do everything we can to meet the most urgent needs that would allow Palestinians in Gaza begin the process of recovery as quickly as possible. This RDNA is an important step in that process. I appeal to the international community to come together in support of these efforts.” said Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

The Gaza RDNA promotes the Building-Back-Better approach in Gaza, focusing on rebuilding a more resilient climate-friendly economy and infrastructure and people’s ability to absorb shocks, as well as on improving living standards and lives. Vulnerabilities that may have contributed to the impact of the conflict should, where feasible, be tackled during recovery and rehabilitation, allowing affected communities to manage and mitigate future risks. The recommended actions range from meeting immediate and future needs, such as restoring inclusive, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable infrastructure, to adopting stronger social safeguards measures and implementing targeted policy reforms. 

The immediate and short-term recovery and reconstruction needs (during the first 24 months) are estimated between US$ 345 – 485 million, with needs estimated between US$345 to US$485 million, of which US$125 to 195 million in the immediate term (from now until the end of 2021), and US$ 220 to 290 million in the short term (6 to 24 months). The priorities focus on ensuring a return to some normalcy by rapidly providing relief, repairing priority damages to infrastructure, and reinstating essential services disrupted by the conflict, to be restored at least to pre-conflict levels, if not further. 

Critical recovery needs include cash assistance to around 45,000 individuals for food and non-food assistance, providing an additional 20,000 full-time jobs for 12 months, and prioritizing housing needs for over 4,000 destroyed or partially damaged that had about 7,000 children in the families who lost their homes. Early interventions are needed to improve food production in agri-food and fishery and rehabilitate physical assets. In addition, financial support is needed to reconstruct the badly damaged micro and small enterprises that provide services, goods, and jobs to the communities, with a focus on sustainable energy- and water-efficient techniques.

Civilian causalities and the devastating socio-economic impact of this round of hostilities remind us once again that we must address the root causes of the conflict. The recovery of Gaza must be backed by a meaningful peace process that will bring security and dignity for all. While we acknowledge the importance of the RDNA exercise, the sustainability of Gaza’s recovery will depend much on the progress of the political process and a negotiated solution. Palestinian unity and democratic renewal through free and fair elections are as well of crucial importance,” said Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, EU Representative.

Beyond the immediate and short-term reconstruction period, systematic policy efforts are required to sustain recovery. This includes the Palestinian Authority’s building a sustainable governance system and creating an enabling environment for private sector-led growth and Israel’s upgrading the services at Karm Abu Salem. Support to job creation programs for men and women is needed to start with 20,000 full-time jobs for 12 months as well as training in digital skills to access the global digital value chain and overcome geographical isolation. Other areas include water reuse for agriculture, renewable energy, the expansion of health facilities and services, and improving the quality of education and bridging learning gaps. Mechanisms to ensure the protection of women, youth, and refugees are especially important.

The World Bank Group, UN and EU are committed to provide critical support to the Palestinian people and ensure swift and reliant recovery, noting that the quick to short-term recovery will depend on financial support, including from donors, as well as Israel’s cooperation to expedite access to materials and equipment intended for civilian purposes.

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Major fall in global food prices for July, but future supply worries remain

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Food prices dropped significantly in July, marking the fifth consecutive monthly decline since hitting record highs earlier in the year in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reported on Friday. 

The UN agency has published its latest eagerly awaited Food Price Index, the barometer that tracks monthly changes in the international prices of five food commodities: cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat, and sugar. 

The index averaged 140.9 points in July, or 8.6 points down from June. The decline was led by double-digit percentage drops in the cost of vegetable oils but also cereals, with the recent UN-brokered deal on Ukrainian grain exports a contributing factor. 

Welcome but wary 

“The decline in food commodity prices from very high levels is welcome, especially when seen from a food access viewpoint,” said Maximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist. 

“However, many uncertainties remain, including high fertilizer prices that can impact future production prospects and farmers’ livelihoods, a bleak global economic outlook, and currency movements, all of which pose serious strains for global food security.”  

In July, FAO’s Vegetable Price Index decreased by 19.2 per cent compared to June, marking a 10-month low. International quotations for all oil types fell, the agency said, with palm oil prices declining due to prospects of ample export availability out of Indonesia, for example.   

Additionally, sunflower oil prices also dropped markedly amid subdued global import demand, despite continued logistical uncertainties in the Black Sea region. Vegetable oil values were also pushed down by lower crude oil prices. 

Black Sea export deal 

The Cereal Price Index also reflected an 11.5 per cent decline last month, though remaining 16.6 per cent above July 2021.  Prices of all cereals in the index declined, led by wheat.   

World wheat prices dropped by as much as 14.5 per cent, FAO said, partly in reaction to the Russia-Ukraine deal on grain exports from key Black Sea ports, and also because of seasonal availability from ongoing harvests in the northern hemisphere. 

July also saw an 11.2 per cent decline in coarse grain prices.  Maize was down 10.7 per cent, again due in part to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and increased seasonal availabilities in Argentina and Brazil. Additionally, international rice prices also declined for the first time this year. 

Sweet news 

The Sugar Price Index fell by nearly four per cent, amid concerns over demand prospects due to expectations of a further global economic slowdown, a weakening in Brazil’s currency, the real, and lower ethanol prices resulting in greater sugar production there than previously expected.  

The downward trend was also influenced by indications of greater exports and favourable production prospects in India. Meanwhile, the hot and dry weather in European Union countries also sparked concerns over sugar beet yields and prevented sharper declines. 

FAO further reported that the Dairy Price Index decreased 2.5 per cent “amid lacklustre trading activity”, yet still averaged 25.4 per cent above last July. 

While the prices of milk powders and butter declined, cheese prices remained stable, boosted by demand in European tourism destinations. 

Mixed picture for meat 

Meat prices also continued the downward trend, dropping by half a per cent from June due to weakening import demands. However, poultry prices reached an all-time high, boosted by firm import demand and tight supplies due to Avian influenza outbreaks in the northern hemisphere. 

The FAO Meat Price Index was also down in July, by 0.5 percent from June, due to weakening import demand for bovine, ovine and pig meats. By contrast, international poultry meat prices reached an all-time high, underpinned by firm global import demand and tight supplies due to Avian influenza outbreaks in the northern hemisphere.  

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Algeria: Strengthening Resilience to Better Address Future Shocks

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Nonhydrocarbon sectors in Algeria are expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and trade and budget balances will also show a marked improvement this year, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Algeria Economic Update.

Issued in French under the title Renforcer la résilience en période favorable (Strengthening resilience in favorable times), the report is part of a series of semi-annual publications aimed at analyzing economic development trends and the outlook for Algeria. The Spring 2022 edition reflects the data and information available as of June 17, 2022.

Supported by increased hydrocarbon production and exports, Algeria’s GDP is estimated to have recovered to its pre-pandemic level in the fourth quarter of 2021. The hydrocarbon sector and a stronger recovery in the services sector were the main drivers of Algeria’s economic growth in 2021. The economic rebound, however, suffered from a drop in agricultural activity and an incomplete recovery in the public manufacturing sector. Job creation also lagged and by the end of 2021, the number of registered jobseekers was significantly higher than the number recorded before the pandemic. Non-hydrocarbon GDP remained 1.6% below its 2019 level and inflation continued its upward trend, in part due to international factors. In response, the authorities have implemented a set of measures to limit the impact of such rising prices on the purchasing power of households, including the introduction of unemployment benefits for first-time job seekers.

The report finds that the continued rise in global hydrocarbon prices helped to offset the rise of certain imports, especially cereals, and erased the current account deficit, which allowed a relative stabilization of foreign currency reserves. The overall budget deficit narrowed in 2021, from 12% to 7.2% of GDP, mainly supported by hydrocarbon export revenues accruing to the budget, which increased by 36%.

Despite a rebound in Algeria’s economic activity, challenges remain, compounded by highly volatile oil prices and the uncertainty of global economy dynamics,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “Going forward, pursuing reform efforts to boost private sector activity will be key to stimulate inclusive growth and to create jobs.”

The report projects that Algeria’s economic recovery will continue in 2022, notably supported by the return of nonhydrocarbon sectors to pre-pandemic levels of activity. Hydrocarbon exports are also expected to remain at a high level, generating a current account surplus and a marked increase in fiscal revenues However, a projected decline in hydrocarbon export prices and volumes in 2023-24, in a context of uncertainty surrounding the evolution of the global economy, could lead to a gradual deterioration in external and budget balances.

Finally, the report outlines how inflation is a growing concern in Algeria, as elsewhere. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies, as well as reforms promoting more competition, will help limit inflationary pressures and support more inclusive and sustainable growth.

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Quick Hacks on How to Systematize Your Study Space

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Effective studying depends on how organized the learner is. As the coronavirus pandemic persists, most students have been forced to study from home. This is the only way to minimize disruptions to their academic programs. Unfortunately, the home environment is often less suited for educational processes as distractions abound. Studying from home demands serious organization and meticulous time management. Here are some tips on how to systematize your study room.

Why Is an Organized Study Area Important?

Having a suitable space for your studies supports your pursuits in various ways. According to researchers, students’ moods, attitudes, and motivation to work change due to the areas they are in.

Choosing the right study area matters because it gives you a feeling of predictability. This is particularly crucial given the challenges students face due to the pandemic. Also, evidence shows that your study environment supports specific habits. For example, according to the findings, using your bed for sleeping purposes alone encourages your brain to associate the area with slumber, helping you to fall asleep faster.

Therefore, having a dedicated study room gives you the right mind frame to work on academic tasks. You can also order custom essay support online.

Strategies for Organizing Your Study Area

A dedicated study room serves several purposes, including ensuring that your educational materials are always within reach. In addition, the proper study area keeps you in the mood to learn and prevents distractions. However, choosing and organizing a suitable study room can be challenging. Here are a few insights.

  • Choose a Private Space Free From Disturbance

It is essential to select a study room you can associate with studying. This should be a peaceful space in your home, free from distractions. It should not be an area already related to other essential activities like eating, sleeping, or playing video games. If you are studying from home, select a location where other family members can give you privacy as you focus on academics. Maybe you could study in the library or a dedicated hall.

Alternatively, you could have separate spaces, allowing you to use one when the other is unavailable. If you need help with assignments, order from an established platform like payforessay.

  • Eliminate Distractions

The more pristine your study room, the better your ability to focus during tasks. Unfortunately, we live in a technology-enabled world, where distractions are everywhere we turn. Televisions, video games, social media, phones, and other devices force us to multitask, reducing productivity and making it hard to focus.  

The most effective way to minimize distractions is to remove them entirely from your study space. Consider placing your phone on silent or vibrate and use apps to keep you from accessing some websites on your PC as you work on tasks. Switch off the television during study time. 

  • Focus on Comfort

When designing your study room, being comfortable doesn’t imply working on an assignment while slumped on a couch. Instead, choose a chair that offers ergonomic support, allowing you to ease into your natural position. Your chair should let you sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at 90-degree angles.

Since you need to keep your room tidy, choose easy-to-clean and stain-resistant furniture. Also, consider the style and size of your space as you decide on your table. You don’t want your space being cramped out and impeding your concentration.

Other than a chair, you should also invest in a comfortable desk. Remember that sitting for long periods can be bad for your health. So, it makes sense to invest in a standing desk as well. Standing desks have been shown to reduce back pain and lower the risk of heart disease.

Don’t let assignments overwhelm you. Read this article on Top Research Paper Writing Services for Your School Projects – techbuzzireland to discover how to get professional support.

  • Choose Proper Lighting and Ventilation

Humans thrive when they work in spaces with sufficient natural lighting. The availability of natural lighting can make or break the quality of your study room. Proper lighting brings vitality and warmth and allows you to concentrate for more extended periods. If possible, set your study desk next to a window.

It would help if you didn’t forget about ventilation when designing your space. First, ensure that your room is sufficiently aerated. Proper ventilation keeps you comfortable as you study. Positioning yourself next to windows certainly helps.

The ideal space should be quiet, comfortable, and clutter-free. Limit distractions and ensure that your room is well-lit and aerated. Also, invest in a comfortable desk and chair.

BIO:

Eric Ward – Working full-time as a Senior Marketing Manager for one of the biggest IT companies in the US, I also enjoy helping college students with their homework. Work with me if you need help with an essay, case study, or a term paper. I have an MBA degree and I’m fully committed to helping you with any pending Marketing or Management assignment.

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