The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) has taken a step toward the digital transformation of Palestine’s banking sector by reviewing its neighbor Jordan’s financial technology development so far.
Under the joint cooperation between the Palestinian regulator and the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), a delegation of PMA officials visited the Jordan Payments and Clearing Company (JoPACC), a private shareholding company established by the CBJ and all commercial banks in Jordan (including its four fully-fledged Islamic banks) in 2017 to develop and enhance digital payment systems and solutions.
During the visit, JoPACC offered a detailed presentation of its payment system governance, its collaboration with industry players, its role as a private sector entity operating payment systems and solutions and its efforts to increase financial literacy in Jordan — all areas of interest to the PMA whose objectives include the development of Palestine’s financial technology sector as well as promoting the banking sector’s digital transformation.
“The PMA is actively seeking to enhance financial inclusion by developing financial technologies and infrastructure for Palestine’s payment systems, in addition to supporting entrepreneurs, innovative ideas and emerging companies,” the regulator said.
The recent field visit follows the PMA’s formation in January 2021 of the Financial Technology Advisory Group, which is tasked to develop the fintech sector and support fintech start-ups. In May 2021, the regulator also launched the official Strategic Framework for Islamic Financial Services to strengthen Shariah finance’s role in promoting financial inclusion, with a special focus on encouraging Islamic banks to adopt digital transformation and develop strategies with fintech integration.
Palestine has seen a rise in demand for Islamic finance, with the total assets of its three fully-fledged Islamic banks growing from US$1.16 billion in 2014 to US$3.4 billion in 2020, surpassing the annual growth rate of the nation’s conventional banking sector, and proving to be an important contributor to the government’s financial inclusion objectives.