BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN GAZA
After two years of economic crisis, Mr. Al Ghwal’s block-making company was struggling to reopen at full capacity. His only block-making machine fell into a state of disrepair, causing production to drop by 50%. However, the small company is as resilient as the blocks that they mold from concrete and harden in the Gazan sun. After completing a cost-shared Recovery Plan, Al Ghwal Company is churning out 5,000 blocks per day, a 150% boost to its pre-pandemic capacity.
One of the main challenges to running a profitable manufacturing business in the Gaza Strip is the difficulty in procuring factory equipment. Border restrictions make importing heavy machinery costly and unreliable, and options in the local market are typically limited. However, the SMART Project found a rare opportunity to contract a local manufacturer that can produce an automatic block machine with specifications on par with European suppliers.
Mr. AlGhwal agreed to split the cost of the new, custom-made machine with the SMART Project, and the Grants and Procurement Team made the arrangements with the local supplier. When the machine was delivered in May 2023, the business was transformed overnight. “This machine is considered as another factory itself,” remarked Mr. AlGhwal.
The new machine had a transformative impact on AlGhwal Company’s productivity and future earnings. Not only does the machine produce nearly double the amount of blocks per hour, the regular task of switching molds takes a third of the time. The old machine, in peak condition, had a maximum output of 2000 per day. Now, as Mr. AlGhwal explains, “I produce 5,000 blocks per day, which enabled me to make new business deals and increase the manpower in my factory, which will be reflected in our profits and the stability of our work in the future.”
The Recovery Plan has enabled AlGhwal company to increase sales by 29%, hire two new employees, and provide safety training to 12 employees.
As an added bonus, SMART’s engagement with a local manufacturer to source the machine has created a sustainable business relationship between the client firm and service provider that will likely outlast this intervention and strengthen the local market in the long term. AlGhwal Company is one of eight Gazan block-making companies engaged with SMART for Recovery and Growth. The success of their Recovery Plan and the reliability of the local equipment vendor have provided a proof of concept for SMART’s support for the block-making value chain overall.
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