Maher Masri

(1946- )


Born in 1946 in Nablus, Masri is married with two children.

Cabinet Position

Minister of Economy and Trade

Cabinet Responsibilities

Oversees trade relations with other countries. Reports the economic status of Palestinian territories to the Palestinian Authority Cabinet, and makes recommendations to improve the economy.

Education

B.A. in Economics, American University, Beirut, Lebanon
M.A. in Economics, American University, Beirut, Lebanon

Background

From 1973 - 75, Masri worked in private business in Beirut, Lebanon.

From 1987 until 1996, Masri was the General Manager of the Vegetable Oil Company in Nablus. He served on the Board of Directors of several private sector enterprises and was the Chairman of the Board of the Palestinian Development Fund, a non-governmental organization that provides loans for industrial and agricultural projects in Palestine. He was an economist in Beirut and later worked in the private sector in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Masri was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996 representing Nablus. From 1996-2002, Masri held the position of Palestinian Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Industry portfolio was added in June 2002. At the same time, Masri kept his seat in the PLC. A proponent of a free Palestinian market, Masri was responsible for negotiating the 1994 Paris Economic Protocol with Israel, an agreement designed to build the Palestinian economy on free market principles.

He is a member of the PLO Negotiation Affairs Department. and was a member of the Palestinian delegation at the Camp David negotiations (2000).

In his position as Minister of Economy and Trade, Mr. Masri serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency; the Palestinian Industrial Estates and Free Zones Area and the Palestinian Banking Corporation. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Palestinian Investment Fund. In 2003, he was nominated as the Minister of Economy and Trade for the new Palestinian Authority Cabinet. He is a member of Fatah.

Analysis

Masri is from the prominent Al-Masri family in Nablus. His cousin Munib Masri, a Palestinian educated in the U.S., is Chairman of the Palestinian Development and Investment Co., also known as Padico.

Padico is the largest privately owned conglomerate in the Palestinian territories. Padico subsidiaries control the telephone network, under PalTel (which has a 25 year monopoly). Padico is a holding company for multiple Palestinian businesses including real estate, bank, insurance and electric companies.

Masri's brother Tahir al-Masri is a former Prime Minister of Jordan.


Sources: Palestine-PMC.org; CNN.com; MiddleEastReference.org.uk; nad-plo.org; PBS.org, (August 9, 2002); AMIN.org; New York Times, (May 10, 2000).