The Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), Mr. Azzam Al-Shawwa, launched the Child and Youth Banking Week 2018 at a press conference at the Convention Palace in Bethlehem and in Gaza via video conference. The launch included the participation of Deputy Governor of Bethlehem, Mr. Mohamed Taha, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Banks in Palestine, Mr. Joseph Nesnas, Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Network for Small & Microfinance (Sharakeh), Mrs. Jan Giacaman, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Ihab Al-Qubbaj, and Head of UNRWA Education Program Mr. Waheed Jubran, along with many representatives of lending institutions, economic and financial institutions, public figures, and banking personalities. The Governor explained that this event comes within the framework of achieving the requirements of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion in Palestine.
The PMA aims to raise awareness on finance and banking among all segments of the society, especially children and youth. The PMA targets eighth grade students to invest in by enhance their capabilities and potential in finance and banking.
The Governor added that, "This event is being held for the sixth consecutive year since it was launched in 2011. This is an embodiment of the collective responsibility of the PMA's policy and the participating stakeholders carrying out their social responsibility in development of a banking culture. This is considered as a prerequisite for economic development to focus on the children, youth and other segments of the society. The PMA is currently engaged in a set of development projects related to banking services and is seeking to provide advanced technical banking services to citizens wherever they may reside.
Mr. Mohammed Taha, Deputy Governor of Bethlehem Governorate, expressed his pride in participating in the announcement of the launching of the Child and Youth Banking Week 2018 in partnership with our family in the Gaza Strip. He praised the achievements and successes of the PMA despite our people’s difficult reality under occupation. He said that the banking system has achieved economic growth, which we respect and appreciate, and provides an important economic platform. It is the only body in the Palestinian entity that has not been affected by the division between the two parts of the country and remains governed by a unified management. We remain proud of the officials of the banking system and, first and foremost, the PMA’s Governor, and all banks’ managers, Micro Finance institutions, as well as all staff in the banking sector throughout the country. Mr. Taha continued to extend thanks to the Ministry of Education for their accumulated effort, which leads to raising the level of banking culture and awareness of the management of money and business, which creates a generation capable of carrying out its responsibilities, engage in saving, and learn how to interact with the banking system.
Dr. Ehab Al-Qubbaj, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education reiterated the Ministry's commitment to work with the PMA to ensure the success of this model which reflects positively on a significant segment of school students. He noted that the Ministry is seriously considering cooperating with the PMA and other partners in launching cooperative banking programs, with a view to integrating theoretical education with practical experience.
He also said that the course of management in the education system provides limited knowledge in this area, however the Child and Youth Banking Week 2018 is a unique leap and offers a practical case that we are studying to deploy in all of our Palestinian schools.
Mr. Joseph Nesnas, Chairman of the Association of Banks in Palestine, said that the banks operating in Palestine consider these events as a window of communication with important segments like the children and youth, our hope for development and change. All banks are contributing to raising financial and banking awareness. Direct explanation of the topic leads to enhancing the financial and banking culture since the more awareness the better financial planning there will be for the future.
He explained that there are 337 bank branches ready to receive children and youth and respond to their questions throughout the Banking Week. Also, representatives of all banks will make field visits to schools and will distribute a comprehensive publication on the concepts of banking as a reference for students to learn how to benefit from savings programs.
Ms. Jane Giacaman, Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Network for Microfinance Institutions (Sharakeh), thanked the PMA for its outstanding efforts in organizing such an event. She explained that the eight funding institutions serve 90,000 clients, 37% of whom are women and 57% are youth. Sharakeh contributes to the Banking Week to educate an important segment of the Palestinian society on financials and credit, stressing that learning about finance is like learning the language in terms that is requires practice at an early age.
Following the press conference, the Governor of the PMA and the participants rang a bell to mark the beginning of the 2018 Banking Week activities in all governorates of the country. The ribbon cutting of the virtual bank was cut and the Governor and attendees toured the corridors of the virtual bank accompanied by many school students.
The events of the Banking Week, which will run from 11-15 March 2018, will include a two-day exhibition of the virtual bank at the Convention Palace in Bethlehem and the Light House venue in Gaza, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and UNRWA. The student groups of the bank and the identification of the banking services provided by banks operating in Palestine.
School visits are also organized to banks to inform them of the mechanism of banking and banking products provided to clients. Bank representatives will visit schools, give educational lectures to students, and hand out awareness leaflets.
The PMA has been organizing the Child and Youth Banking Week since 2011, which is usually organized in Palestine in conjunction with the annual celebration of Child and Youth Finance International - located in Amsterdam - on 15 March each year. The Banking Week aims at enhancing the financial and banking culture of all segments of society, And the PMA in 2013 won the Global Money Week award for organizing the best financial and banking awareness activities in the Middle East.