Despite the continued blockade on goods in Gaza, the area is experiencing its first period of economic growth since 2007, largely due to Egyptian policy changes.
New luxury hotels, a shopping mall, and dozens of schools are all signs of increased economic development and decreased dependence on Israeli goods since the blockade began four years ago, the New York Times reported in June. Jobs have been increasing and over 1,000 factories are up and running, according to Hamas. While the growth has put unemployment back below 25 percent and allowed the rebuilding of hundreds of homes, Gaza still struggles.
Electricity is inconsistent, leaving hospitals and schools vulnerable. In the last four years, the number of people living on less than $1.60 a day has tripled. Reliance on food aid remains extremely high and thousands of homes are not yet rebuilt. “For the vast majority in Gaza, things are not improving,” a Gazan medical student told the New York Times. “Most people in Gaza remain forgotten.”
Increased trade from Egypt has led to real improvements, but the blockade still inhibits development of meaningful infrastructure that improves lives long term.