The key to addressing Palestinian developmental challenges lays in resolving chronic unemployment among Palestinian youths. As of 2013 According to Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), more than 40 per cent of Palestinians are living below the poverty line, a quarter of them being under the age of 18. In the Gaza Strip alone, 43.5% of the total population is aged between 0-14 years of age and although young Palestinians are among the most highly educated in the Middle East (over half are University graduates), unemployment among their demographic is an estimated 44 per cent. While both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are suffering from high unemployment and stagnating growth, the situation is particularly desperate in Gaza where unemployment according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) has reached 31%. Unemployment is even higher among marginalized demographics such as women and young people.
To help addressing the current and future unemployment issues among Palestinian youths there is urgent need to promote a strong and sustainable Information and Communication Technology sector in Palestine, and especially in Gaza strip. As of 2007 year end according to Palestinian Information technology Association of Companies (PITA), ICT sector contributed about 10-12% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a market size of around $500 million, with approximately 250 ICT companies. Palestinian ICT companies cover wide spectrum of the ICT market including hardware distributors, software development firms, office automation vendors, and internet service providers, and telecommunications companies, ICT consulting and training companies.
With 8000 students yearly involve in ICT specialization in more than 13 Palestinian Universities teaching accredited ICT related programs, only around 2500 yearly graduates make ICT sector one of the most promising in Gaza since its sustainability depends primarily on human resources, local skills, and the internet. It is an ideal area for development within the ‘movement restricted’ economy for graduates who struggle to find gainful employment. Therefore, BITPAL seeks to qualify undergraduate students, especially those who are in the field of IT and empowering them to create their own businesses before the graduation, by the necessary tools, methods and skills in very. more