His Excellency Mr. Azzam Shawwa, the Governor of Palestine Monetary Authority and His Excellency Dr. Sabri Saidam, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, launched the Child and Youth Banking Week 2019 for the seventh year in a row in a press conference held in Al-Qal’a Hall in Nablus and at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Gaza – through videoconference. With the participation of Major General Ibrahim Ramadan,the Governor of Nablus, Mr. Moawya Imar, Head of Education Program at UNRWA, Mr. Issa Al-Basha, representative of the Association of Banks in Palestine, Mr. Sameer Al-Barghouti, representative of Palestinian Network for Small and Microfinance (Sharakeh), and representatives from banks, lending institutions, economic and financial associations, public figures, and banking officials.
Governor Shawwa said the Child and Youth Money Week was part of realizing the requirements of the national financial inclusion strategy in Palestine, which was launched at the end of last year under the auspices of His Excellency the President. Palestine Monetary Authority aimed through such event to raise financial and banking education and awareness in the society as a whole especially the children and the youth. Though the event focused on 8thgraders, the focus of Palestine Monetary Authority included all students at schools and universities, male and female students, to enhance the capacities and potentials of the future generation in financial and banking issues, according to Mr. Shawwa.
The event is conducted for the seventh year – it was first launched in 2011 – to implement Palestine Monetary Authority and stakeholders’ policy of corporate social responsibility and to promote knowledge and culture of banking among the children and youth and the community as a whole as pre-condition to realize economic development, added Mr. Shawwa.
Dr. Saidam thanked all partners who had contributed to the event of launching the Child and Youth Banking Week 2019 and praised the strong partnership between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Palestine Monetary Authority. Dr. Saidam expressed pride in the students who would lead the banking process throughout the event. Dr. Saidam affirmed the importance of such event, which provided students with practical experience to be ready and qualified for the labor market. Dr. Saidam also emphasized the role of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in inventing qualitative and pioneering ideas that improved students’ skills and gave them what they needed in an ever-changing and progressing world. Dr. Saidam called on Palestine Monetary Authority to initiate printing of the Palestinian pound to be used at schools’ cafeterias and to expand such events to include the educational system via clear and integral visions.
Mr. Imar said that the Education Program of the UNRWA was focused on quality, fair, and inclusive education at schools and developing students’ capacities and life skills. The Child and Youth Banking Week 2019 helps develop life skills of students, said Mr. Imar. The UNRWA is focused on continuation of delivering basic services and the UNRWA students are active participants in the activities of the Child and Youth Banking Week this year and last year and want such activities to continue to enhance citizenship values and human rights among children, according to Mr. Imar.
Mr. Al-Basha praised the important role of banks and other financial institutions and partners in Palestine, led by Palestine Monetary Authority, which enhanced economic knowledge and education of the public and enhanced their living conditions and reduced unemployment rates. This also enhanced financial inclusion in Palestine, a task conducted in partnership between Palestine Monetary Authority and the Palestinian Capital Market, and aspired to increase financial inclusion from 36.4% to 50% by the end of 2025.
Mr. Al-Basha said that Palestine Monetary Authority played an effective role in financial stability in a difficult environment, which helped the banking sector keep its balance and consistency in indicators and performance because Palestine Monetary Authority believed that the banking sector is a distinctive national sector and had great community and economic mission. The children are the future generation; therefore, banking awareness among them must be enhanced and the culture of saving must take precedence over all banking function.
Mr. Al-Barghouti thanked Palestine Monetary Authority and its partners for the evident efforts in financial inclusion including banking education and awareness for the whole society, including children – the pillars of the future. Mr. Al-Barghouti also addressed the contributions of the lending institutions to economic development especially in financing small businesses, which had empowered women and youths. The number of lending institutions is nine; they have 107 branches across the country and they employ 954 staff members. Their portfolio is $240 million, according to Mr. Al-Barghouti.
Nablus Governor Ibrahim Ramadan said he was glad to take part in the launching of the Child and Youth Banking Week 2019 and that he was proud of Palestine Monetary Authority and its success despite all the challenges and difficulties Palestinian people face under occupation. Governor Ramada also said he was proud of the banking system that contributed to the economic development and the pioneering role of the banks and lending institutions in Palestine and thanked Palestine Monetary Authority for organizing the event.
Mr. Shawwa and participants rang a bell announcing the commencement of the Child and Youth Banking Week 2019 across the country at the end of the press conference. The ribbon cutting ceremony of the virtual bank was then conducted and Mr. Shawwa and participants and children and youth toured the bank.
The event – March 17 to 21, 2019 – includes a two-day virtual bank at Al-Qal’a Hall in Nablus and Lighthouse Restaurant in Gaza. Students’ visits to the virtual bank will be coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Educational Program of the UNRWA. This is where students will be introduced to the banking services of the banks that operate in Palestine. Students’ visits to banks will also be organized to introduce them to banking operations and banking services to clients. The event activities include visits by bank employees to schools to educate students and disseminate information bulletins.
Palestine Monterey Authority has organized the Child and Youth Banking Week annually since 2011. The organization of this event in Palestine usually coincides with the activities of the Global Money Week, which takes place every year on March 15 and aims to enhance the financial and banking culture in the society especially among children and youth and prepares them to wisely plan their financial future. Palestine Monterey Authority received the Global Money Week Award in 2013 and 2018 for organizing the best financial and banking awareness-raising activity (Child and Youth Banking Week) in the Middle East.