Press Releases

IFC and the Palestine Monetary Authority Help Banks Cope with Risk

In Jerusalem:
Youssef Habesch
Phone: +972 2 236 6547

In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 461 9150

Jericho, West Bank and Gaza, January 27, 2010─IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping raise awareness among bank executives in West Bank and Gaza and across the Middle East and North Africa about effectively managing risk to help them weather current uncertainty in global financial markets and build stronger banking sectors.

IFC and the Palestine Monetary Authority today hosted a conference in Jericho in the West Bank entitled “Managing Bank Risk in a Changing Environment.” The conference was attended by senior bank executives operating in West Bank and Gaza and provided a platform for participants to share experiences on bank risk management in today’s rapidly-changing financial environment.

Topics covered by speakers included managing liquidity, operational and credit risks and the importance of improving corporate governance practices and managing risks in Islamic banking.

Dr. Jihad Al-Wazir, Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority, said, “Given the uncertainty and heightened risk in global financial markets, the Palestine Monetary Authority has issued different regulations directing banks to enhance their internal control and risk management systems and improve their capacity for formulating coherent business strategies with sound underlying capital management for the purpose of maintaining a sound and safe banking system.”

Youssef Habesch, IFC Country Officer for West Bank and Gaza, said, “Risk management begins with awareness and realizing the important oversight and monitoring role that board members must play. This conference provides the opportunity to exchange views, ideas, predictions, and solutions."

IFC works closely with banks across the Middle East and North Africa to help structure robust risk management systems and train bank staff on risk management. IFC has supported risk management conferences in other regional countries like Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, helping strengthen banking practices in these markets.

As of June 2009, IFC had committed over $116 million of its own funds in West Bank and Gaza. During fiscal year 2009, IFC committed over $46 million in trade finance assistance to three banks and invested in two institutions. IFC also recently signed an agreement with Bank of Palestine to strengthen the bank’s risk management systems.

IFC is the largest international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by supporting stronger banking systems in the Middle East and North Africa.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit

About Palestine Monetary Authority
The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) is the emerging Central Bank of Palestine. Its overall purpose is to assist in the maintenance of the stability and effectiveness of the Palestinian financial system, Promote sustained economic and financial growth of the Palestinian economy by:

1. Effective and transparent regulation and supervision of banks operating in the Palestinian Territories;
2. Development of monetary policy designed to achieve price stability;
3. Overseeing the implementation and operation of modern and efficient payment systems.