Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group, expressed his gratitude and appreciation toward the Italian Consul General who recently granted him the Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy Award in appreciation of the role he played in promoting economic and commercial relations between Italy and Palestine. The Italian Consul General in Jerusalem, Mr. Fabio Sokolowicz, held a ceremony in Jerusalem last Thursday granting the award to Al Shawa on behalf of the President of the Republic of Italy, as a token of appreciation for his efforts and cooperation through his role as Chairman of the Palestinian-Italian Joint Business Forum, which aims to promote economic and commercial relations between Palestinian and Italian businesses and entrepreneurs.

Al Shawa was granted this award for his extensive and prestigious experience in the banking and financial sectors, and his commitment to promote economic relations between the two countries, especially through his role as Chairman of the Palestinian-Italian Joint Business Forum, which aims to encourage commerce and investments and promote joint cooperation between Palestinian and Italian entrepreneurs.

Al Shawa expressed his gratitude for receiving this award and thanks the Italian Consul General, the Italian people, and Italian companies and entrepreneurs who cooperated with him in building this partnership. He added that this award will encourage him and Bank of Palestine, to double the efforts in raising the level of commercial cooperation between Italy and Palestine, benefit from experiences and increase the size of commercial exchange between both countries.

Bank of Palestine is considered a partner with the Italian Consulate General and the Italian Cooperation Agency in creating the Italian Loan Guarantees Program that provides support for organizations and small and medium size enterprise in Palestine, in order to support such projects and allow them to continuously grow and develop. During the ceremony, the features of the program were presented to ensure its effectiveness in funding these projects, not only through financial support from Italy, but also for the Italian support for large sectors, including food production, textiles and specialized products, in addition to opening opportunities for exporting these products to Italy in cooperation with Italian companies. 

It is important to mention that the Palestinian-Italian Joint Business Forum was established in February 2017, under the auspices of the Palestinian Businessmen Association following the Milan Expo in 2015. Bank of Palestine sponsored the visit of 50 Italian companies to Palestine with an aim to encourage them to explore the investment environment, break the psychological barrier to travel to the area, and discuss means of cooperation and partnership with Palestinian companies.

In February 2017, representatives of 20 Italian companies from the Association of Italian Industries responded to the invitation and visited Palestine to attend the opening ceremony of the first Joint Palestinian-Italian Business Forum, and since then, several commercial missions from Palestine visited Italy, and several more are expected to take place in 2019.

Al Shawa expressed his determination to continue working with the Italian government and partner organizations, in cooperation with the Italian Consulate General in Jerusalem, the Joint Forum and the Palestinian Businessmen Association in order to deep-root relations between Palestinian economic entities and their Italian counterparts. “Bank of Palestine will strive to set tangible goals and offer several commercial and financing facilitations for the Joint Business Forum,” stated Al Shawa. He also expressed his willingness to set an example of the commercial ties between Italy and Palestine to become a model for other bilateral commercial relations.