The West Bank “Silicon Wadi”

The West Bank is becoming the budding Palestinian tech sector and though outsourcing contracts are the foundation of the industry there, the business model that the West Bank tech sector looks to is not similar to the Indian outsourcing setup i.e. numbers amplified due to the immense population, but more that of Israel.

Innovation, creativity and being ahead of the curve” is the ultimate goal.

The Palestinian I.T. Association of Companies recently listed 125 members, about three-quarters of them based in the West Bank and the rest in Gaza. Palestinian business owners admit that the industry is still in its nascent stage, with total outsourcing revenue estimated to be not more than $6 million a year. However, they also understand that it can be an attractive opportunity for Israel-based firms because of its proximity, cultural familiarity, the talent of Palestinian engineers and their loyalty to their companies.

Many people here have attributed Cisco’s arrival in 2008 as a turning point for the industry and believe that if compared with other industries, the West Bank information and communications technology sector has an advantage: it is much less affected by impediments to movement, like the barriers, checkpoints and permit requirements that Israel imposes on the territory.

Economic experts and entrepreneurs say that the main asset of Palestinians is their young, well-educated, entrepreneurial-minded population. However, they also understand that there is an immediate need to gain maximum exposure from world business leaders and investors and overcome the image that the world has of the territory as a volatile conflict zone.

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