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New Tech Sector Growing in West Bank

Thanks to early support from Cisco, IT companies begin to blossom.

There's evidence of a growing Palestinian technology sector, particularly in Ramallah.


A second "Silicon Wadi" seems to be taking root in the West Bank.

Kickstarted four years ago by a $10 million investment by Cisco Systems, a burgeoning tech sector has grown to make up 5% of the Palestinian economy, reports the New York Times

The tech sector has an advantage here, the Times notes: "It is much less affected by impediments to movement, like the barriers, checkpoints and permit requirements that Israel imposes on the territory in the name of security."

It also has a built-in talent pool: While about 2,000 Palestinians a year graduate from university with technical subjects, fewer than a third find local IT jobs, the paper reports.

Currently, the sector is dominated by outsourcing services, the Times reports--Cisco followed up its initial investment with outsourcing contracts for Palestinian engineers--but entrepreneurs there want to be less like more India and more like Israel.

Tareq Maayah, CEO of Exalt Technologies, told the paper that the goal is “innovation, creativity, being ahead of the curve--rather than relying on a huge quantity of basic skills.”

IMAGE: Photo courtesy Felix Abraham
Last updated: Jul 30, 2012

CAITLIN BERENS writes about business innovation and entrepreneurs. Before Inc., she worked at Billboard, SELF, and Better Homes and Gardens. She attended Drake University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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