'Intra-Arab competition wears on Arab-owned businesses'

Competition within Arab sector makes bigger barrier for Arab-owned businesses than lack of opportunities, security situation.

March 23, 2011 05:45
1 minute read.
'Intra-Arab competition wears on Arab-owned businesses'

Iraqi business dude. (photo credit: Karim Kadim)


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Strong competition within the Arab sector presents the biggest barrier to Arab-owned businesses, according to data presented at the Prime Minister’s Conference of the Authority for the Economic Development of the Arab, Druse and Circassian sectors in Jaffa on Tuesday.

Sixty-eight percent of Arab business owners surveyed said that the strength of competition in the sector was a barrier to their success, while 56% cited a shortage of opportunities in the local market and 52% also blamed difficulties in obtaining credit.

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The security situation ranked low among negative factors, cited by 24% of business owners.

Beni Feferman, the head of the Labor Force Planning Authority in the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, which compiled the data, said that the lesson to be learned was that the Arab sector was too small on its own to support its businesses, and that there was a particularly low amount of exports from that sector.

According to the data, there are 22,500 Arab-owned businesses in Israel, employing 155,600 people, of whom almost all – 144,800 - are Arabs. In contrast, of the 2.33 million people employed by around 171,000 Jewish-owned businesses, only 85,700 are Arabs.

Feferman said that the percentage of Arab employees working in professions that they studied was just 20% for science and engineering graduates, but that this figure rose for Arabs who graduated from law, economics, accounting and business management, of whom 51.3% have found work in their area of study.

He said that the data showed that 46.5% of Arab graduates haven’t looked for work in the Jewish sector, 37.3% have found work in Jewish-owned businesses, and 16.1% looked unsuccessfully for work in that sector.

A poll of Arab higher education graduates found that 31.8% believe racism and discrimination presented a barrier to their employment opportunities, while 18.9% cited security reasons and 11.2% cited a poor command of Hebrew or English.

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