We have released a new report titled “Italian business in Israel”; the report is part of SRM “Business Project,” the main research programme (initiated in 2012) carried out by SRM’s Observatory on the economic relations between Italy and the Mediterranean Countries (www.srm-med.com). This series of studies has already published reports on Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and United Arab Emirates.
The Report, developed in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo, takes an innovative approach in the content of the analysis and the method by which this analysis has been carried out. It is based on three fundamental pillars that also represent the main parts of the study: 1) import-export relations between Italy and Israel; 2) the Agritech sector; 3) the shipping and port logistics sector. The latter two sectors are very strategic for Israeli economy.
Israel is a very interesting market, with a lot of opportunities to offer: its per capita GDP is higher than the one of Italy; there is a huge portion of young people (the weight of under 15s on the total population is double compared to Italy) and the fertility rate is very high. All this makes Israel a very dynamic country with interesting growth prospects, which attracts capital and investment from all around the world: the stock of Foreign Direct Investment in Israel is over $100bn and accounts for more than 36% of its GDP.
The main feature of the Country is its strong investment in research and innovation, two aspects that have become part of its “DNA.” Investment in Research and Development in Israel is over 4% of its GDP – the highest percentage in the world – and the incidence of graduates on the 25-64 population is nearly 50%. There are also about 4,000 technology startups and nearly 300 Multinational Research Centers.
Israel is one of the world leaders in agricultural technology. The export turnover of the sector is estimated at about $4bn a year. Over the past few years, an annual amount of around $90m-100m has been invested on average in Research and Development activities, making Israel a world leader in allocating funds to this particular sector.
Particularly important is the transport and logistics sector, which is a key asset for the Country; it’s worth mentioning that 80% of Israel’s exports (in value) is shipped by sea. The sector accounts for about 12% of GDP (€157bn), a greater percentage than Italy. Moreover, it features three ports of strategic importance, two of which (Haifa and Ashdod) are highly affected by the Chinese strategic initiative, Maritime Silk Road, and, consequently, are a destination of Important Chinese investment in infrastructure.
The general manager of SRM, Massimo Deandreis, states that “Israel is a Country that is progressively establishing itself as an economic power in the Mediterranean and in the global economic scenario. The value of foreign direct investment, which exceeds $100bn, China’s interest in Israeli major ports and the high degree of innovation in the agri-food sector are the factors that make Israel a land of opportunity for those who want to increase their Business relations with this country. SRM, with this Report, wants to provide a useful analytical tool for anyone who wants to understand what Israel’s main assets are, its economic relationship with Italy and how the Country is setting up its development strategies.”