Author Archives: Jacoub Sleibi

Can academic research influence government policy?

Jacoub SleibiJacoub has completed an MSc in Global Finance and Banking at Bradford University’s School of Management and is working with the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) to develop plans to reestablish a single Palestinian currency, the Palestinian pound. Currently, Palestinians use three currencies – the US dollar, the Jordanian dinar and the Israeli Shekel.

I am currently working with the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) to turn the research from my dissertation into a white paper that will be viewed by those countries which invest in Palestine.

We are very dependent on  foreign aid and when we implement the new single currency, we will need a lot of funds, so the aim is to use this paper to provide a business case to the donor countries. The paper will also show that having our own currency is crucial to us becoming an independent state, something which is now recognised by the UN.

1. How is my research influencing the PMA?

The major finding in my research whilst at the north’s top management school has been the discovery that one exchange rate pushes up the economy and the other pushes it down, leaving the economy (measured by real GDP) in between both scenarios. Moreover, the economy responds negatively to an increase in the inflation rate which is a deviation from theory.

My MSc has really helped me look at this, particularly the module quantitative methods in finance. This taught me some very important econometric tools, such as using statistical software. And with the help of my professor Dr Abhi Sharma at the University of Bradford Management School, I discovered impulse response functions (IRF) – these showed me how one exchange rate pushes up the economy and the other pushes it down.

Other aspects of my course gave me a strong understanding of the core principles of macroeconomic aspects of banking and finance and it is this knowledge which has the potential to ultimately influence not only government policy but also the economic climate in Palestine. Read my blog to find out more.

GDP

2. Can academic research realistically be used to influence government strategy?

Courtesy of www.dur.ac.uk

Courtesy of www.dur.ac.uk

I believe my research will in the long term bring about both economic and political stability and it gives me real pleasure to know that I am helping my country in such a way, irrespective of the outcome of the peace talks between Palestine and Israel.

Dr Thom Brooks, reader in law at Durham University, believes employing academics is a trend that should be used more by governments particularly as it has been reported that the UK government spent up to £800 million on private consultants and short-term staff in 2012-13.

Dr Brooks says that in the UK, this bill could be greatly reduced by tapping into the specialist knowledge of academics and using them as consultants.

This is nothing new though. Back in 2008, a report by the Council for Science and Technology said healthy engagement between academics and policymakers was essential to the provision of informed, evidence-based, world-class policymaking – a result of the “impact” element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

But to achieve this fully, academics would need to produce clear outcomes, define policy implications and communicate in a clear and accessible way. Only then, would they be considered as an alternative to thinktanks or as a partner.

3. What is the next step?

The ongoing problem we face here in Palestine is the political situation and the huge uncertainty associated with it. This is going to make it hard for us to implement a new currency because the transition from three currencies to one needs a safe political environment and at the moment, there isn’t one.

However, I always remain optimistic and believe that one day, my country will once again have its own currency.

How can academics sell their skills better to both government and business? What do they need to do to show they can contribute to the ‘real’ world? What else would help the PMA introduce a single currency?

Can Palestine introduce a single currency against a backdrop of political uncertainty?

Sleibi-Bradford2Jacoub has just completed an MSc in Global Finance and Banking at Bradford University’s School of Management. Research from his dissertation is being used by the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) to develop plans to reintroduce the Palestinian pound and have a single currency.

Currently, Palestinians use three currencies – the US dollar, the Jordanian dinar and the Israeli Shekel. Jacoub, who is originally from Bethlehem, Palestine, believes that a Palestinian single currency could bring many benefits to the region, making trade easier and stabilising the economy. But there are many issues to be considered first, which he explores in this blog.

Since returning to Bethlehem from the north’s top management school, I have been discussing the findings from my dissertation with Mahmoud Bsharat, a research assistant in the macroeconomic department of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA).

It is very satisfying to know that the research I have done whilst at Bradford University School of Management will assist with my country’s policy making and may eventually stabilise the economic climate. But any country thinking of reintroducing a single national currency faces several issues that need consideration (Scotland is another current example, with many currency choices on the table if there is a yes vote for independence).

1. Can the Palestinian pound be introduced at the same time as a central bank?

While I think the Palestinian pound needs to be introduced in parallel with opening the central bank, one of the most important decisions that will need to be made is choosing an exchange rate regime. I believe it should be pegged to the Jordanian Dinar because this will push up the economy, but we also need to make sure that the new pound has the same purchasing power as the dinar.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is possible for the PMA to introduce the Palestinian pound without moving to a central bank, which it is not yet ready to do. This is because they do not have the money printing equipment that is vital if there is to be a single currency in Palestine.

2. Can a central bank be set up whilst using all three currencies and then a single currency introduced afterwards?

Based on the discussion I have had with the PMA, the answer is no. Residents of Palestine, as well as visitors and tourists, are already confused by having to use three currencies. Before implementing a new currency, the conversion/transition to one Palestinian national currency should be studied very carefully and organised by a central bank. However, the conversion should also be smooth, so the new currency will not lose its value. For example, allowing for a specific period that all currencies should be converted to the main new one.

3. Could a central bank function considering the current political situation?

Most of our problems in Palestine are political ones, from pollution to water shortages to unemployment. The currency issue is a very serious problem in the economy, but it runs in parallel with many other issues that must also be resolved.

For example, we need to be able to import and export goods and services and be free to move from city to city without having to go through checkpoints. Only then, will a single currency be able to operate fully.

FT SleibiI was recently interviewed by the Financial Times about my Bradford University School of Management masters course and dissertation on the Palestinian currency. In the interview, I talked about my background and why, from the age of about 14, I have been interested in researching the effect of currencies on Palestine.

My interview with the FT, whilst at the north’s top management school, now means that people from all over the world will know about the currency issues Palestinians go through every day.

I do believe there will be a single currency in Palestine. As I always tell my friends, I am optimistic and always looking for ways to build a better future. I remain sure that the Palestinian pound will be re-introduced some time soon.

How do you think a Palestinian single currency would be regarded internationally?

Does there need to be peace with Israel before a single currency can be introduced?

Why Do a Masters? Five things To Think About!

Jacoub-Sleibi

Jacoub Sleibi

Some might consider it random that I have ended up doing an MSc in Global Finance and Banking when my degree was in computer science. However, my reasons were two-fold. First of all, my father was a banker and secondly, I want to help stabilise the economic climate in my country.

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am from Palestine and currently there are three currencies in operation – the US Dollar, the Jordanian Dinar and the Israeli Shekel. Because of this, people who work can be paid in any of these three currencies which in practical terms is chaotic. To give you an example, a professor working at a university could be paid in Dinar but he will then have to pay the school fees for his children in Dollars and when he goes shopping for groceries, he will probably pay in Shekels. Consequently, salaries are being converted over and over again, which forces everyone to lose money – not a good situation.

 Why Do A Masters?

My objective when deciding what Masters to do was determined by my ambition to have a career in banking, so it was important that I found a world-renowned course which would maximise my job opportunities afterwards.

I think it is really important before deciding what course you want to study that you ask yourself the following:

1)      What do you want to achieve?

2)      Will your course get you a job?

3)       Is it worth the money?

How did I research my Masters?

One of my top tips for choosing a Masters is to ask yourself what you want to do with it afterwards.  The challenge for me was to find a banking course that would equip me with the necessary research skills to help me find out how my country can restore the Palestinian Pound, which was introduced following the British mandate in 1922. It stopped being used in 1951.

I chose the UK to study because in Palestine there aren’t any banking courses so my only option was to come here. I found 10 UK MBA courses but Bradford University Business School’s MSC in Global Finance and Banking stood out. Not only did the business school have an excellent reputation, but the Dean at my previous university, the University of Bethlehem, had been a student here.

Why is a Masters Useful in a Career?

For me, it was very important to study for this further qualification not only because it will help me get into banking, but studies show that postgraduate degrees create valuable contacts which in turn should secure good work experience and employment opportunities. In fact, more than a quarter of postgraduates surveyed felt their future employment prospects were better as a result of their qualifications, according to a 2011 report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Evidence also suggests that postgraduates will earn more over the lifetime of their careers as they have the advantage of having a relevant qualification when it comes to getting a job in their chosen field.

Will a Masters help land you a Job?

One of the most important questions I asked myself when choosing this course was would it help me secure a job? This is extremely important when prospective students are deciding what to do. You need to know exactly what you want to accomplish at the end so it is vital you research your chosen field thoroughly, particularly as further study is expensive with tuition fees ranging from between £4,000 to £15,000 for home-based students and double for international students.

Dr Robert Lomas Lecturer in Technological Management

 Can Your Dissertation Make You Employable?

Another important question to ask yourself before starting your studies is what will you focus your dissertation on? I knew exactly what I wanted to do before I even started my course. Some great advice about choosing your topic comes from Bradford professor Dr Robert Lomas in his blog.  He suggests that writing a dissertation is an empowering step but at the same time you should remember that a business dissertation has three main stakeholders – the university, the student and the employer.

My Dissertation could influence Palestine’s Future

It is for this reason that I chose to focus on how the Dollar, Dinar and Shekel are affecting political and economic performance in Palestine with a view to finding out how the economy can stabilised and strengthened.

So far I have discovered that because of the exchange rates of each currency fluctuating on a daily basis, there is high volatility economically. But if the exchange rates were fixed, there would be minimum volatility. In addition, I want to find out if it is more expensive to have one currency as opposed to three.

I have already shared the initial findings of my research with the Palestinian Monetary Authority and plan to meet with them on my return home. Even though unemployment is high in Palestine, I am determined to work hard to get a job and I think having been at one of the UK’s best business management schools will help. 

More Study?

Further study is really important in today’s economic climate and I am interested in looking at other UK MBA courses. One that would help my country is the university’s Innovation, Enterprise and the Circular Economy MBA. By studying this, I would be able to offer something unique and it has the benefit of me being able to study it part-time if I wish as it’s a distance-learning programme.

JacoubandFriendsHowever, my time at Bradford has not just been about studying. I have had an amazing time here at one of the UK’s best business management schools and I would really recommend it. I now have friends from all over the world who I will be keeping in touch with when I leave.

For all of you due to study here, I wish you the best of luck – you will have a fantastic time!

Will it be possible to reinstate the Palestinian Pound? Is one currency better than the existing three? What impact would a single currency have on the Middle East?