H.E. Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar

 President, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group


University Professor

Dr. Hajjar received a Bachelor's degree with First Class Honours in Economics and Political Science from King Saud University, Riyadh, and a Master's degree in Economics from Indiana University, USA. In 1982, he returned to Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a lecturer for four years. In 1986, he attended Loughborough University in the United Kingdom on a scholarship, where he received a Ph.D. in Economics. His thesis, Financing Small Enterprises in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, argued that Islamic financing is appropriate for small enterprises, which often lack collateral, administrative, and marketing expertise.

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Hajjar occupied the posts of Deputy Dean of the College of Economy and Administration; Deputy Director of the Islamic Economics Research Center; and Head of the Committee on Curricula Taught from an Islamic Perspective. He taught university courses on monetary issues, banks, economic development, the Islamic economic system and macroeconomics. His teaching links theory with practice with a focus on outlooks. He encourages his students to engage in voluntary work.

Chief Editor, Money and Markets magazine

Dr. Hajjar believes that there is a strong connection between the economy and the media, and that together they represent the two wings of societal enhancement. Responsible media reveals the economy's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. It contributes to the development and enhancement of the economy through the objective reading of events and outlooks.

This view was the main driver behind the 1996 establishment of Money and Markets, a specialized economics magazine to address the concerns of the Arab and Islamic worlds in line with ethical and spiritual values. The magazine provided objective insights into the backdrops of events and successive developments in the international arena, and to highlight their effects on economic activities. It dedicated extensive space for Islamic economy and Islamic financing. Dr. Hajjar was at the helm of the magazine until it was discontinued in 2006.

Member, Shura Council

In 1998, Dr. Hajjar was selected as a member of the Shura Council in its second session. His membership continued for three sessions, spanning 12 years. He was appointed Vice-Speaker of the Council, holding that office for three years.

During his term at the Shura Council, Dr. Hajjar chaired its Committee on Foreign Affairs for one year. He was a member of the Council's Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy and the Committee on Social Affairs and Youth. He served on several specialized subcommittees dealing with specific issues, including the Committee on Integrity and Combating Corruption, which produced an anti-corruption body, the Committee on University Admission and the Committee on Zakat. At the international level, he represented the Council in the Arab Parliamentary Union and the Inter-Parliamentary Union for two years. He was also part of the team concerned with the accession of the Shura Council to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

While at the Council, Dr. Hajjar developed an interest in environmental protection and renewable energy; the relationship between the public, private and tertiary sectors; investment in education as the major driver of development; human development with an humanitarian dimension in addition to the economic dimension; the role of the tertiary sector in economic and social development; the importance of the middle class in achieving economic, social and political stability; and endowments.

Chairman, Coordinating Council for Monitoring Municipal Elections

Dr. Hajjar formed a coordinating council of seven NGOs under the umbrella of the National Society for Human Rights to monitor the first municipal elections held in Saudi Arabia in 2005. The Council deployed approximately 1,500 volunteer citizens to all cities in the Kingdom, and issued daily statements in both Arabic and English explaining the election instructions, regulations and outcomes.

Chairman, National Society for Human Rights

Believing that upholding human rights and dignity is paramount, Dr. Hajjar, along with 40 Saudi men and women, established a national non-governmental human rights society in 2004.

Under his five-year Chairmanship, the Society built awareness among citizens and residents about their rights under Sharia, domestic laws and international conventions and revise laws for alignment with international conventions. It tried to introduce human rights in curricula, published a monthly newsletter and established an information and documentation centre. The Society issued the first report on human rights in the Kingdom, which was well received nationally and internationally.

Minister of Hajj

The Ministry of Hajj is the governmental body mandated with caring for and serving approximately three million Muslims visiting the Kingdom to perform Hajj (pilgrimage), and seven million to perform Umrah every year. The services begin the moment visitors decide to perform the rituals while still in their own countries, and continue throughout their stay in the Kingdom, and do not end until they depart in cooperation with other service departments.

Dr. Hajjar served as Minister of Hajj from 2011-2016. During his term, he introduced 25 initiatives to develop and enhance the services provided to the Hajjis- guests of Allah. Some of those initiatives have been fully implemented, while others are currently in progress. The initiatives were aimed at making the Hajj journey an easier, more enjoyable and lasting experience in the mind of the Hajji and visitor.

Minister of Culture and Information

Dr. Hajjar was appointed Acting Minister of Culture and Information in addition to the Ministry of Hajj for approximately one month and a half until a new minister of culture and information was appointed.

Additional Memberships

Dr. Hajjar has served as a member of several national and international bodies, including the Board of Trustees of Takaful Charity Organization, which sponsors orphans and needy students, the World Council for Supporting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Disabled Children Association, and the World Islamic Council for Economy and Finance.