24th (According to the World Economic Forum Global Competiveness report)
- Central Bank of Israel ranked 1st for its effective operation
The economy of Israel is a diversified market economy with moderate state ownership and a rapidly developing high-tech sector, which is backed by a thriving Venture capital industry. Israel possesses a substantial service sector and the Israel diamond industry is one of the world's centers for diamond cutting and polishing. It is also a world leader in software development and is a major tourist destination. The major industrial sectors include metal products, electronic and biomedical equipment, processed foods, chemicals, and transport equipment. Relatively poor in natural resources, Israel depends on imports of petroleum, coal, food, uncut diamonds and production inputs, though the country's nearly total reliance on energy imports may change with recent discoveries of large gas reserves off its coast. The high concentration of high-tech industries in Israel, gave it the nickname "Silicon Wadi", which is considered second in importance only to its Californian counterpart.
In September 2010, Israel joined the OECD, which praised Israel's scientific and technological progress and described it as having "produced outstanding outcomes on a world scale." Israel has also signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Jordan, Egypt, and on 18 December 2007, became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc.
The country's GDP (Purchasing power parity) in 2006 reached $195 billion according to the International Monetary Fund or $179 billion according to the World Bank (see List of countries by GDP (PPP)). GDP per capita has been $31,767 according to the International Monetary Fund in 2007 or $26,200 in 2006 according to the CIA World Factbook. The economy grew by 8% in the last quarter of 2006, faster than any of its Western counterparts.
American billionaires and business tycoons including Bill Gates, Cole Roberts, Warren Buffett, and Donald Trump have each praised Israel’s economic environment, and the country was the destination for Berkshire Hathaway's first investment outside of the USA when it purchased ISCAR Metalworking, and the first research and development centers outside the USA for companies including Intel and Microsoft. Israel also enjoys the availability of $3.148 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, whose conditions are negotiated each year at the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG).
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