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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Time to Reboot: A Blueprint for the Palestinian Tech Sector

Despite Israeli occupation and systemic governance challenges, the Palestinian economy faces a unique opportunity to build a thriving technology ecosystem. The current model of global philanthropy-driven tech development in the West Bank, however, is not working. Without a reboot, no progress is likely to be made. As early as 2012, a Cisco report proclaimed that, “Palestine is on the brink of becoming the next high tech global hotspot.” A decade later, this ambitious pronouncement remains unfulfilled. This paper outlines how international actors such as the US State Department can lead an effort, together with other key governmental and international institutions, to accelerate growth in the Palestinian tech sector. Long-term, the proposed model is intended not only to serve the Palestinian economy, but also to strengthen civil society, build state capacity, and facilitate regional collaboration.