Kerry: Palestinian economic plan expected to get $4 bln boost

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An economic plan to revive the ailing Palestinian economy is expected to produce around $4 billion in investment, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was reported as saying by AFP on Sunday.

“We are looking to mobilize some $4 billion of investment” in tourism construction, Kerry told the closing session of the World Economic Forum, held in the Jordanian town of Al-Shunah on the shores of the Dead Sea.

He previously said that a plan was emerging that could expand the Palestinian economy by up to 50 percent in the next three years, the Associated Press reported.

He said it could also cut unemployment by almost two-thirds. Average wages could jump 40 percent.

The plan, however, all depends on parallel progress on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, he added.

Kerry has been working with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and global business leaders to devise economic plans to revitalize the Palestinian economy.

Kerry spoke Sunday at a business conference in Jordan alongside Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In attempt to highlight another Arab country’s economic standing, Kerry on Saturday met with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi for about an hour on the sidelines of an African Union summit, Reuters reported.

He urged Egypt to act swiftly on economic reforms to secure a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan, saying the measures were needed to get further aid from the U.S. Congress.

Egypt’s Islamist-led government has been resistant to introducing the austerity measures needed to win the IMF funding, including raising taxes and cutting fuel subsidies, fearing such painful reforms could provoke social unrest.

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