Dr. Jihad Al Wazir Governor of PMA and Mrs. Abeer Odeh CEO of Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA) have signed a memorandum of understanding for the collaboration of the two financial institutions in support of establishment of a national strategy for Financial Inclusion. The strategy will aim at formulating the sound basis for the promotion and usage of the various financial services and products by people from all social strata, including marginalized and low income segments, offered in a fair, transparent and affordable manner and appropriate to their needs; a project that will be supported by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Association.
Dr. Al Wazir said that due to the need to raise awareness and improve financial education as well as to reinforce consumer protection and facilitate access to funding resources and financial products and services, the escalating demand for such services by consumers in Palestine has brought to light the pressing need to unite initiatives and action in order to avoid redundancy of resources and efforts and enable the expansion of financial inclusion across the largest possible segment of the targeted sectors.
Dr. Al Wazir added that for this to be achieved, a National Financial Inclusion Strategy has to be developed and established that engages all parties interested in Financial Inclusion, including financial sector supervisory institutions, governmental institutions, civil society organizations, independent bodies and the private sector. Al Wazir added that PMA and PCMA will partner to lead the establishment of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in Palestine, in collaboration with all stakeholders and within a clear and well-developed plan in accordance to the main principles for enhancing financial inclusion endorsed by G20, World Bank and AFI as well as the OECD Principles on National Strategy for Financial Education.
Mrs. Odeh articulated the main goals of the national strategy for Financial Inclusion, including improving access to financial services and products for all social segments. Mrs Odeh added: "through the collective effort of all parties involved, the strategy will introduce people to the importance and the modes of access and usage of financial services and thus provide them with the capacity to improve their social and economic situation and achieve social and financial stability. With the collaboration of all parties involved, the strategy will bridge the financial literacy gap in the best possible manner by promoting consumer protection through the formulation of policies and guidelines to introduce current and potential consumers to their rights and obligations.
Learning from previous international experiences the establishment of a National Strategy on Financial Inclusion is expected to be carried out over a period of two years. Due to the peculiarity of the Palestinian condition and the rarity of resources and specialized staff, the implementation of the strategy should preferably be implemented over two phases: the first will last for 5 years and will target the financial sectors supervised by PMA and PCMA, the second implemented over three years and will target the remaining sectors including the private and public sector and any other sector for which the strategy is pertinent.