Ramallah – November 25, 2019 - His Excellency the Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority, Mr. Azzam Shawwa, opened today a workshop under the title of "Towards a National Strategy to Enhance Financial Technology Services" in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Banks in Palestine Mr. Maher Al-Masri, the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Association of Banks in Palestine Mr. Jamal Hourani, the Representative of the World Bank Group Mr. Youssef Habash, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sharakah Mr. Ala’a Sisalim, international financial technology expert Mr. Jay Tikam, with the participation of a number of representatives of banking and financial institutions and a number of international experts, directors of Palestine Monetary Authority, and all relevant parties.
Mr. Shawwa asserted during his speech at the opening of the workshop that the launch of a national strategy initiative to enhance financial technology services originated from Palestine Monetary Authority's interest in keeping pace with global developments and the introduction of new models of banking credit and the banking industry, through effective partnership from the official sector, private sector, entrepreneurs and business incubators.
Mr. Shawwa also explained that Palestine Monetary Authority aimed through this initiative to work on the establishment of a favorable and appropriate financial infrastructure, whether the legal and legislative frameworks or capacity building, thus preparing the technical and institutional requirements and enhancing levels of awareness to provide this type of services in accordance with the needs of the local community at competitive prices and advanced services. This was in line with the relevant international standards and consistent with the needs of the Palestinian banking environment, said Mr. Shawwa.
The Governor pointed out that the establishment of a strategy to enhance financial technology services would contribute to enhancing financial inclusion and achieving sustainable economic development, by facilitating access of the targeted groups of society and the small and medium enterprises sector to credit sources using modern mechanisms and tools.
Mr. Shawwa thanked all those who carried out this strategy, and Sanad and Finance in Motion for their support in preparing the strategy, international expert Jay Tikam for his efforts in drafting the strategy, and the World Bank representatives for their participation in providing the Bank's experience.
Mr. Jamal Hourani, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Banks in Palestine, affirmed that modern digital financial technologies were not limited to a specific application or service, but extended to an open space for financial services needed by the community and convenient and safe ways to accomplish such services. Mr. Hourani also emphasized the importance of engaging banks in these ideas and encouraging them to sponsor and invest in them and benefit from them, in order to achieve the desired objectives of all sectors of the society, which would contribute to the development of the society and ensure its security and stability.
The World Bank Group Representative Mr. Yousef Habash explained that the trend towards the development and use of financial technology worked to enable banks and financial institutions to redefine banking and future financial services, by providing their services in a simpler, easier, safer and competitive way, and creating a new model that combined the confidence of customers in banks and financial institutions and the advantages offered by technology. Mr. Habash called for the need to be aware of the risks that could be produced by dealing with financial technology and working to protect customers and investors.
Mr. Ala’a Sisalim, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sharakah emphasized the need to work together on several levels in order to move towards the use of financial technology in Palestine. He added, "At the governmental level, it is necessary to work on amending the relevant laws and developing communication networks, in addition to the importance of Palestine Monetary Authority’s issued instructions aimed at facilitating the work of banking and financial institutions and protecting beneficiaries and the financial sector from the potential risks of dealing with electronic financial services, as well as the need for the financial and banking sector to create its infrastructure, working environment and the capabilities of workers to use this technology, and to educate and encourage citizens to use financial technology."
During the workshop, Mr. Jay Tikam, international expert in the field of financial technologies, gave a presentation on the reality of the situation and the future prospects of financial technology services in Palestine. Expert from the World Bank Group, Mr. Riadh Naouar, explained the services of financial technologies and regional prospects. International experts Harish Natarajan and Jean Pesme explained the priorities for the development of financial and digital services in Palestine and their relationship to the activities of the World Bank Group.