Anchoring the Negev
Sustainable Local Development through Community Wealth Creation
Anchoring the Negev, a joint venture between AJEEC-NISPED and the Negev Development Authority, brings together diverse Jewish and Arab communities, businesses and individuals for the purpose of community wealth creation and ensuring local economic stability via asset ownership. It creates local jobs and expands the provision of public services.
Anchor institutions—institutions that once established tend not to move location—are increasingly viewed as an important force in local economic development .
Anchoring the Negev facilitates a process in which local businesses, individuals and communities cooperate to provide needed services and products to local anchor institutions, cutting down economic “spillage” to the country’s center, thereby boosting local economic development,
Two significant anchor institutions in Israel – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Soroka University Medical Center – are located in Beer Sheva. The university and hospital are powerful engines of economic activity for the entire Negev region, including the Bedouin communities. The university employs over 1,600 people with an annual operating budget of more than one billion shekels. The hospital employs over 4,000 people with an annual operating budget in excess of one billion shekels.
Another significant Negev anchor is Israel Chemicals Ltd. ICL is a global fertilizer and specialty chemicals company with operations throughout the world, over 12,000 employees and revenues of $6.7 billion.
Machteshim Agan Group, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of branded off-patent crop and non-crop protection products, with annual sales of $2.7 billion, is yet another important anchor institution.
The size and geographic concentration of Beer Sheva’s anchor institutions provide an important point of leverage for community economic development in the Negev. One key strategic issue is how to leverage the vast resources that flow through these institutions so that they help build up the communities that surround them through targeted local purchasing, hiring practices, and the investment of their endowments.