Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 21 March 2021 – An in-person meeting at Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) headquarters in Jeddah, on Sunday, between IsDB President, Dr. Bandar Hajjar and Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Deputy Chairwoman of Council of Ministers, H.E. Bisera Turkovic who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, focused on exploring a wide array of issues particularly those about digitization in cooperation with IsDB’s Transform Fund, investments, scholarships, and tourism.
The Minister commended the relations between IsDB and Bosnia & Herzegovina and the support the Bank has provided in various sectors while emphasizing that her country is looking forward to furthering the ongoing cooperation with the IsDB as well as other Member Countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Dr. Hajjar, for his part, stated: “We stand ready to continue strengthening our cooperation with Bosnia & Herzegovina,” noting how IsDB provided exceptional support to the country immediately after the conflict and partnered in establishing Bosna Bank International (BBI) with a US$ 30 million investment.
“BBI is now the first bank, both in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in Southeast Europe, which operates in accordance with Islamic finance principles. It is among the fastest growing banks in Bosnia & Herzegovina with assets grown from US$ 90 million in 2006 to US$ 800 million by the end of 2020. The establishment and growth of BBI has helped establish Bosnia & Herzegovina as an important investment destination and has contributed to promoting financial inclusion within the country,” he reiterated.
Furthermore, he explained how IsDB has also approved a US$ 10 million line of financing in favor of BBI to finance Waqf (endowment) projects in the country, in addition to providing financing for two endowment projects namely the construction of a residential complex for the elderly in the city of Mostar for EUR 1.8 million as well as a commercial property in the same city for EUR 0.45 million.
A host of other topics also featured at the meeting including IsDB’s US$ 500 million Transform Fund that supports innovators, entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs, scientists, etc. from all over the world as well as the Bank’s scholarship program in the country which supports Undergraduate, Master’s, Ph.D., and even Post-doctoral research programs.
Dr. Hajjar, then, urged Bosnia & Herzegovina to consider benefitting from the wealth of experience of IsDB Member Countries in various fields especially in a recent approach adopted by the Bank for production and productivity based on Global Value Chains (GVCs).