After nearly passing half the timeframe set for implementing the National Financial Inclusion Strategy approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018, the PCMA was able to accomplish many achievements in the context of enhancing financial inclusion in Palestine. It should be noted that the executive plan of the national strategy encountered many challenges during the past years due to the economic and political crises that faced the country, more specifically as a result of Israel withholding of Palestinian tax revenues (Makasa) and the Covid-19 pandemic crises and its repercussions, which had a direct impact on the implementation plan of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and thus imposed new challenges. However, the regulators doubled their efforts to preserve the integrity of the financial sector, both banking and non-banking, including developing the necessary plans to deal with the developments taking place, and continuing to work to achieve the goals of financial inclusion. In this context, during the year 2022, the PCMA and the Monetary Authority worked on the implementation of a mid-term re-evaluation process, and had launched a re-evaluation project for financial inclusion through a contract with the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute – “MAS”, to prepare a re-evaluation study based on a survey analysis of the supply and demand at the national level, within a project funded by the Global Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). The technical committee has developed an integrated action plan that includes the main stages of the re-evaluation process, with a specific time frame for each stage. The study is expected to contribute to evaluating the implementation of the strategy, ensuring that it is proceeding according to the action plan, and take the necessary measures and amendments, if any.
In turn, the “MAS” Institute contracted with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics to implement the field survey (the demand part). The technical committee also worked in cooperation with the technical team of the “MAS” Institute on the development of the questionnaire for the field survey on the demand side, which was used by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the process. The research sample focused on individuals and not on families, as the demand side targeted a sample of 8,500 individuals of 18 years of age and above, which is a more comprehensive sample than that used in 2016. With regard to the levels of publication, it was approved at the level of entire Palestine, and then at the level of the northern, central and southern West Bank, and the northern, central and southern Gaza Strip by gender (male and female), and at the level of the governorates of the country. The “MAS” Institute also worked on implementing a supply-side survey that included financial service providers, in addition to the regulators of the financial institutions, as we all as conducting focus group interviews specialized in specific topics. The results of the demand and supply side survey provide information about the current situation and the development of financial inclusion in Palestine.
In the same context during 2022, the PCMA continued its efforts in implementing the financial inclusion strategic plan in cooperation with key partners. The following initiatives were implemented:
- A project to enrich the educational curricula in cooperation with the Ministry of Education; and
- MSME’s business strategy.