Dr. Jihad Khalil Al-Wazir
Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority
Dr. Jihad Khalil Al Wazir was appointed Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) in 2008 and was re-appointed for another four-year term in 2012.
Governor Alwazir is the founder and Chairman of the Palestine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) established in 2013. He also chairs the National Palestinian Anti Money Laundering Committee, serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arab American University-Jenin and is a member of the board of the Palestine Investment Fund.
Served in several senior positions in the private and public sectors. He was at various stages in his career: A member of the board of the Palestine Monetary Authority and later Deputy Governor, Acting Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance, Assistant Deputy Minister and Permanent Secretary General of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.
He was also a member of numerous Boards of Directors in the public and private sectors including the Palestinian Industrial and Free Trade Zones Agency (PIFZA), Chairman of the National Road Accident Insurance fund, and member of the board of the Capital Markets Authority.
He is the founder of the Palestinian Domain (.ps) and was also the Chairman of the first board of directors of the Palestinian National Internet Naming Authority (PNINA). In 1995 he founded the Palestine Trade Centre (a member of World Trade Association) and was elected as a member of Board of Directors for the Palestinian Businessmen Association. He was the Middle East coordinator for the World Economic Forum - Davos, Switzerland “Transition to Peace” Initiative from1998-2000.
Dr. Al Wazir developed the PMA’s international network of relationships that assisted the Palestinian banking system in maintaining operation in the West Bank and Gaza under very difficult circumstances. The network includes the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, ECB, FATF, EU, EC, US Treasury, Bank of Israel, Central Banks of Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Norway, Italy and Sweden’s Riksbank.
Dr. Al Wazir holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Loughborough University in the U.K. 2001 and is married to Judge Thuraya Judi and they have three sons.
Achievements at PMA to date:
Enhancing soundness and good governance of the banking sector including through the adoption of a strong AML regime; implementation of IFRS; governance code, comprehensive bank regulation (BASEL II/III) including on site/off site inspection; increasing banks’ capital requirements and encouraging mergers; restructuring weak banks and liquidating problem banks; promoting consumer protection and developing the first national financial inclusion strategy in the Arab world. Other measures included instituting quarterly stress testing for all banks. A recent IMF Report “commended the PMA for its success in maintaining financial stability during trying times”. In response to risks, including geopolitical risks, the PMA significantly expanded its macro-prudential policy toolkit, including countercyclical capital buffers, dynamic provisioning, dynamic caps on loan-to-value ratios, and dynamic leverage ratios.
- Successfully supervising 16 banks with 263 branches in Palestine with net assets over $12.1 billion, and total deposits around $9.9 billion, reducing nonperforming loans ratio to 2.6%, one of the lowest NPLs in the MENA region.
- Enabling a steadily growing banking sector by developing modern market infrastructure, developing a modern electronic payments system (RTGS), introducing Market Conduct and Consumer Protection department and developing, in house, one of the best Credit Bureaus globally.
- Fostering financial stability by establishing the Palestine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), developing strong crisis management framework linked to macroprudential policies, regulating microfinance institutions and money changers, and Introducing a macroprudential tool kit which included countercyclical buffers and scenario planning that maintained financial stability and helped safeguard the banking system during two wars and against the spillovers of the Arab Spring.
- Maximizing financial sector contribution to the real economy by regulating and supporting microfinance institutions, reducing bank risk by monitoring credit cycles, and encouraging credit to productive sectors and SMEs. Developing professional scenario planning framework and full Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery systems in the PMA as well as in the banking system. Implemented alternative sites and disaster recovery systems to back up all data and maintain crucial operations in case of conflict and natural disasters.
- In preparation for the introduction of a new Palestinian currency, Dr. Al Wazir led the Monetary and Research Department team into transforming the PMA analytical and monetary research capabilities to be ready for conduct of monetary policy. Recent IMF staff reports recognized the PMA as “ready now for the transformation into a full-fledged central bank” awaiting political agreement.
- Enhancing the PMA research output and capacity including the introduction of financial stability, stress testing, inflation, economic forecasting, foreign investment, public debt, and payment systems oversite and other reports.
- Developing the transmission mechanism to the economy through the establishment of open market operation in the PMA and the spearheading the adoption of new laws such as Microfinance institutions, leasing, movable assets registry, payment system and other laws to develop and enhance the transmission mechanisms to the economy.
- Producing research papers on the formulation and implementation of Palestine’s monetary policy regime as a small open economy recognizing its limitations and absorbing the lessons learned in the literature and from recent monetary episodes.
Previous Career History and Achievements:
Known as one of the key reformers in the Palestinian Authority, Dr Al Wazir served as Acting Minister of Finance from November 2005 to March 2006 and Deputy Minister of Finance and Head of the Macroeconomic Policy committee of the Ministry of finance, 2004-2005. Dr. Al Wazir worked with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and then Middle East Quartet Representative Mr. James Wolfensohn on the implementation of financial and institutional reforms in Palestinian Authority.
As Acting Minister of Finance from November 2005 to March 2006 Dr. Al Wazir successfully managed one of the worst fiscal crises to face the Palestinian Authority by implementing drastic fiscal retrenchment and reform measures. He is credited for the restructuring of the Ministry of Finance and the adoption of the first official organizational structure based on international best practice.
Dr. Al Wazir served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Planning and International cooperation and later as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning 2001-2004 and was responsible for the coordination of international aid to the Palestinian People and the preparation of National plans. Dr Al Wazir was responsible for and coauthored the development of national public investment, emergency Public Investment Plans, as well as Development plans of the Palestinian Authority. He Co-authored the Emergency Public Investment Plan of 2003, the Quick Impact Intervention Plan to support the Road Map, and the Socio-Economic Stabilization Plan 2004, and the Medium Term Development Plan 2005-2007, all of which were approved and adopted by the International donor community conferences and achieved desired outcomes.
Dr. Al Wazir holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Loughborough University in the U.K. 2001, an MSc. Engineering Management from Milwaukee School of Engineering 1990, and Electrical Engineering BSc. from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA 1986
- Alwazir, J., Attallah M., and Sarsour S. (2010) “From Occupation to an Independent Monetary Policy: achievements and aspirations in Palestine”, book chapter in Money in the Middle East and North Africa: Monetary Policy Frameworks and Strategies, Cobham, D. and Dibeh, G.(eds.). Routledge. UK.
- Alwazir (2004) “Israeli “Disengagement” and its Impacts on Political and Economic Developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: A Palestinian Perspective”. PNA.
- Alwazir et al (2004) “Socio-Economic Stabilization Plan 2004-2005”, Ministry of Planning, PNA.
- Alwazir et al (2003) “Quick Impact Intervention Programme 2003”, Ministry of Planning, PNA.
- Alwazir et al (2003) “Emergency Public Investment Plan 2003”, Ministry of Planning, PNA.
- Alwazir, Jihad (2001) “Exploring Lean Production in the Flexible Manufacturing Systems environment: Some tensions between features of advanced manufacturing technologies and new wave manufacturing strategies”. PhD Thesis. Loughborough University. Loughborough. UK.
- Alwazir, J. (1994) “An Exploration of the Compatibility between New wave Manufacturing Strategies and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies” Management and New Technology. Cost A3 Action. European Commission. Grenoble, France.
- Alwazir, J. et al (1994) Leicestershire County Tech Survey. Loughborough University. Loughborough. UK.
- Alwazir, Jihad (1990) “A Program for Developing Small Scale Industry in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. Master’s Thesis. Milwaukee School Of Engineering (MSOE). Milwaukee, WI. USA.