UK Announces Series of Programs to Harness Youth Power

RAMALLAH, April 11, 2013 (WAFA) – The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) Thursday announced  a series of programs to support the Palestinian youth activate their role in their society and create a better future.

International Development Minister Alan Duncan said at a press conference in Ramallah following a three-day visit to the Palestinian Territory that the DFID programs aim to help young Palestinians engage with the Palestinian Authority and become actively involved in creating their future.

“While courageous political leadership is needed to make progress on the peace process, if we are serious about turning that hope into reality we must acknowledge that the answers do not rest solely with political leaders,” he said.

The Supporting Stability and Promoting Democracy Program funded by DFID and delivered by the British Council aims to enable Palestinian civil society groups to monitor how the Palestinian Authority spends public money.

The program will also help media represent a broader range of people through the use of social media.

Duncan also announced a £3 million over two years to deliver legal aid to defend land property rights and housing in area C, East Jerusalem and Gaza, “which is expected to provide thousands with legal advice and create a sense of stability as well.”

These programs are part of UK’s support in three main areas including, maintain rights and access to justice of Palestinians, creating wealth and jobs and promoting the legitimacy and capability of a future Palestinians state.

Duncan spoke to an audience of business people at the Hebron Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday and set out details of a new £15 million Palestinian Market Development Program (PMDP).

According to Duncan, the program aspires to help Palestinian firms develop new products and target new markets, resulting in a business boost that is set to generate at least £40 million in additional attributable sales by 2019.

“This latest boost for Palestinian businesses from the UK is set to generate tens of millions of additional sales in the coming years. Now I call on the Palestinian Diaspora to help us go one step further, by seizing the opportunities available to them to open up new overseas markets, take advantage of inward investment opportunities and share both their business know-how and technology with the Palestinian Territories,” said Duncan.

The announcement built on the success of previous DFID support for the Palestinian private sector, which has helped hundreds of businesses turn over £80 million in sales and exports, enter 87 new export markets, develop 129 new products, create 3,400 jobs and increase their exports by 52%, he added.

Source: WAFA News