Knowledge and Capacity Exchange
The Palestinian Stock Exchange (PEX)
Transfer of technical competence and support from the OMX (later Nasdaq OMX) to the PEX. In 2009, the PEX ranked thirty-third among the worldwide security markets, and regionally it comes in second in terms of investor protection. On 8 June 2011, the World Federation of Exchanges Board of Director approved an upgrade of PEX’s membership to an Affiliate in the Federation. On the 4 April 2012, PEX made its market début. By June 2012, PEX was able to announce full membership in the Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA).
Volvo-ASAL Technologies ICT development deal
From November 2005 to August 2006, ASAL Technologies on behalf of Volvo IT executed the project to transfer a Java based system for the bundling of truck deliveries to a new platform. The system was to ensure that the output from each production unit matched the specific regulation of the country of the purchase order. All work was delivered from the ASAL offices in Ramallah with a secure connection to Volvo IT France in Lyon. The long-term effects on ASAL Technologies from PIBF-facilitated meetings with Volvo cannot be overestimated – today ASAL Technologies has acquired great experience from working with companies and organizations such as Cisco Systems, ETA, G.ho.st and others. The partnership with Volvo provided ASAL Technologies with the track record and competitive advantage needed to attract other major clients on the international software development and IT services outsourcing market. A team of thirty-five computer engineers in 2003 has today grown into a large scale operation with 135 engineers and offices in Ramallah, Gaza and Germany. ASAL Technologies is currently creating applications for both small and large companies in a wide range of industries. This has attracted increased attention from international customers and the Israeli IT sector.
Modernising banking and improving e-banking
In 2007, PIBF and the Association of Banks in Palestine (ABP) conducted a first phase study on the electronic infrastructure with the support of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA). It found that a national solution for (1) electronic banking services is technically viable – present networks and infrastructure in Palestine show stability in line with international standards. Second (2), the benefits of this transformation will benefit the whole of Palestine. Third (3), the proposed organisational upgrading is through either in-house or turn-key service provision. In a second phase, PIBF together with ABP launched a wide scale assessment of market demand, customer readiness and behavioural trends, covering retail and corporate customers which was published in July 2009. It showed readiness on the legal and regulatory level, while customer readiness in terms of ICT diffusion, level of awareness and expectations indicated high demand potentials for e-banking services. The biggest obstacle to modernised banking services was limited inter-banking relationships, at the loss for end customers. The insights gained from the two studies have been welcomed by the Palestinian banking sector. At a joint ABP – PIBF seminar presenting the outcomes of the assessment in July 2009, the Palestinian Governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, Dr. Jihad Al-Wazir, emphasised the need for stronger cooperation between the banks and joint efforts in establishing an Intermediary Banking Services Company, as proposed in the report.
Capacity-building in Packaging
One of the major weaknesses in the Palestinian packaging sub-sector is the gap between education and the private sector, as this has led to accumulating production of low quality packages, reflecting weak products, low sales, low market shares, and weak ability to export and compete on a local and international level. This led to a project whereby the Swedish firm Broby Grafiska and the Palestinian Federation of Paper Industries (PFPI) developed a packaging curriculum for Palestinian universities. Four universities have committed to implementing the packaging curriculum throughout their design programmes in 2015-2016, and PIBF will host Broby Grafiska again in Palestine to provide trainings for a selection of professors at the four universities. PIBF and PFPI have recently completed an extensive training programme entitled ‘Packaging Week in Palestine’. PIBF connected PFPI with Broby Grafiska in Sweden in order to provide the five-day training to about twenty of PFPI’s members from different backgrounds; printing, designing, marketing, engineering, and production, which together form the value chain in packaging.
Trade between Gaza and the West Bank
PIBF facilitated an exchange visit by West Bank entrepreneurs to Gaza, with the purpose of regenerating trade flows that are presently interrupted. The historical exchanges between the timber and furniture industries were revived, and the contacts led to contracts for a number of Gaza firms and subsequent exports of furniture to the West Bank. The total extent has so far been limited to three containers, but the visibility of the effort has been encouraging and politically important, and of importance for the companies concerned.