Bank of Palestine announced the negotiations held with several international information technology companies to create an initiative to support technological investment in Palestine. The negotiations took place during the bank’s participation in the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos. During the annual sideline meetings at the Forum, discussions covered means of international and regional investment in Palestine, with several sovereign funds in the region, as well as international banks.

The annual World Economic Forum is considered the only meeting that gathers prominent figures from all over the world, including presidents and representatives of more than 100 countries, executives from over 1,000 international companies, leaders of international and nongovernmental organizations and world renowned intellectuals and influential individuals, not to mention technology and information technology pioneers who gather to set priorities and create the international, industrial and regional agendas.   

Mr. Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, pointed out that “our participation in the meetings alongside Ibtikar Fund was very special this year. Together with several participating organizations and companies, we were able to focus on mechanisms and means to provide an enabling environment in Palestine that attracts investments from international companies working in the field of information technology, and contribute to investment in Palestinian entrepreneurial energies, talents and startups.”

It is important to mention that the entrepreneurship and information technology sectors are considered among the vital sectors that contribute to the alleviation of unemployment, especially among youth, and empowering Palestine to become part of the technological advancements witnessed around the world, especially during the so-called fourth industrial revolution that is totally dependent on technology and the internet.

Al Shawa added that during the sideline meetings at the World Economic Forum, Bank of Palestine presented its experience with Ibtikar Fund, which was established by the bank with a number of local and international investors, as well as investors from the Palestinian diaspora community. “Ibtikar managed to prove the efficiency of investment in Palestinian startups, especially due to the existence of talents and ideas to create startups that are able to succeed, compete and attract investments from outside Palestine,” he added.

The Ibtikar Fund invested in over 22 Palestinian startups working in the fields of information and data analysis within the real estate, security and e-commerce sectors. This year, the Ibtikar Fund intends to launch part two of the initiative to attract more investors who have developed an appetite for more similar startups in Palestine.

At the end of his speech, Al Shawa expressed his enthusiasm about being part of the World Economic Forum and the 4th Industrial Revolution to support private sector efforts in Palestine, especially the information technology sector and entrepreneurship and innovation funds in Palestine, which created bridges of communication with the largest information technology companies and sovereign investment funds. “We still have a long way ahead,” stated Al Shawa, “but the initial foundations are extremely encouraging. If we are willing to help Palestinian youth, we need to pull them out of the puddle of unemployment, and give them hope and opportunities to succeed,” he added.