Gaza's economy is on the "verge of collapse" and its unemployment rate is now the highest in the world, thanks to blockades, war and poor governance, the Voice of America quoted the World Bank as saying in a report on Friday.
The global lender said Gaza's unemployment rate stands at 44 percent. "Even more alarming is the situation of youth unemployment, which soared to more than 60 percent by the end of 2014," it said.
"Gaza’s unemployment and poverty figures are very troubling and the economic outlook is worrying. The current market in Gaza is not able to offer jobs leaving a large population in despair particularly the youth," said Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The blockade has cut Gaza's gross domestic product in half, according to the report. "Gaza's GDP would have been about four times higher than it currently is if it weren't for the conflicts and multiple restrictions," it said.
Since withdrawing from Gaza in 2005, Israel has launched several military campaigns against Hamas. The wars have left thousands of Palestinians dead, wiped out local infrastructure, and destroyed homes, leaving many dependent on UN assistance.