Gaza Economy: Palestinian Businessman to Open Coca-Cola Factory in Gaza Within Weeks

By Staff Writer

Feb 02, 2016 10:39 PM EST

Coca-Cola announced that they would open a manufacturing unit in the strip of Gaza within weeks. This move is considered among the first and biggest economic development in the region since the end of the Gaza War in 2014.

According to the Times of Israel, the Coca-Cola factory project is worth $20 million raised from Palestinian investor, initiated by Palestinian-American businessman Zahi Khouri. Along with Palestinian richest billionaire Munib Masri and other investors, Khouri established the Palestinian National Beverage Company (PNBC) as Coca Cola's Palestinian subsidiary.

Khouri underlined the importance of this economic milestone in Gaza. "Coca-Cola is one of the first of the biggest global companies to invest in Palestine, and this investment opened the door to others. The same will happen in the Gaza Strip," he stated.

Besides being a pioneer that could help secure other investments in Gaza, this factory would also contribute directly to the local economy. According to Forbes, PNBC will employ at least 250 people, and would indirectly support more than 1,000 families that will provide services to the factory.

"I'm driven by the desire to get people working," Khouri noted, considering that the Gaza territory has been devastated by the prolonged war between Palestine and Israel for decades. According to the International Business Times, more than 80 percent of 1.85 million Gaza Palestinians have to rely on humanitarian aid to survive. More than 9,000 homes have been destroyed during just the last war in 2014, and most of them remain in ruins due to restrictions on construction materials.

The factory is located in the Karni industrial zone, and it's reported to be ready to open soon within a few weeks, and local supply will begin in a month. The completion of the factory is actually delayed to nearly a year-and-a-half, compared to the expectation of 10 months to build the 3,000 sqm factory.

Khouri has received huge supports and positive comments on what he's doing to help the economy of Gaza and its people. Some were even amazed that he could succeed. Khouri has had experience in operating a Coca-Cola factory in the West Bank since 1997.

This move is considered not just a business maneuver, but also a contribution to a devastated territory in desperate need of economic development. Khouri, himself a Palestinian refugee in his childhood, hopes that this new manufacturer plant could support the local economy as well as attracting more investors to support business units in Gaza. 

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