> Posted by Center Staff

PCMA CEO Abeer Odeh and PMA Governor Jihad Al Wazir

Last week Palestinian government officials announced plans to create a national financial inclusion strategy, an initiative that would put it on a short list of two countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that have nationwide, government-led inclusion plans (Morocco being the other).

The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) and the Palestine Capital Markets Authority (PCMA), the country’s central bank and a national regulating body will co-lead the project along with support from the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and other public and private groups.

The policies and guidelines of the strategy will aim to facilitate greater access, improve awareness and financial education, and reinforce client protection. An area inviting particular attention is access to credit, which is low for both individuals and SMSEs. The strategy will build on inclusion principles endorsed by the G20, World Bank, AFI, and the OECD Principles on National Strategy for Financial Education.

It’s estimated that the strategy will take two years to create, and be comprised of two rollout phases. The first, lasting five years, will target financial sectors supervised by the PMA and the PCMA. The second, implemented over three years, will target the remaining services sectors.

In 2012 Palestine demonstrated its national-level inclusion ambition, becoming the first MENA region country to submit a Maya Declaration commitment. The Maya Declaration, sponsored by AFI, is a process through which member countries set measurable commitments to greater financial inclusion.

Interest in financial inclusion is growing in the MENA region. Many of the region’s countries, including Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Egypt, have become AFI members in recent years.

For more on national financial inclusion strategies around the world, read AFI’s Progress on National Financial Inclusion Strategies paper.

Image credit: Palestine Monetary Authority

Have you read?

Are Youth-Inclusive Financial Services in MENA a Driver of Financial Inclusion?

Microfinance and Peace in Colombia

Global Microscope Finds the World Getting More Microfinance-Friendly