H.E. Dr Bandar Mohamed Hamza Hajjar, President Islamic Development Bank Group

Praise be to Allah and prayer and peace be upon the seal of prophets and messengers, Prophet Mohamed, and all his family and companions

Your Excellency Mr. Bakir Izetbegović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia & Herzegovina;
Excellencies, Members of the Presidency of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Mr. Mladen Ivanić and Mr. Dragan Čović;
Excellencies, Ministers, and Former Ministers
Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

I am pleased to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to His Excellency the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Bakir Izetbegović, and to the distinguished members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Dragan Čović and Mr. Mladen Ivanić for hosting the Sarajevo Business Forum.
The facilities offered by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the success of the "Sarajevo Business Forum" since its launch in 2010, with the participation of a distinguished group of business people and investment institutions from the Gulf States, Asia and Europe, had and will have a great impact on accelerating the socio-economic and cultural development in the region in general and in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular.
It is a great honour for me and for the IDB Group to join this august gathering at the opening of the Sarajevo Business Forum in its ninth edition in 2018. This is my second consecutive participation in this Forum (in my capacity as President of the IDB Group). The quality of the high level organisation that I have noticed this time makes me affirm that the Forum has become the largest and most important business event in the region.


Your Excellency the Chairman and Excellencies
I am pleased to mention that the distinguished partnership between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the IDB is not born in this event but has been going on for several years. In particular, I would like to highlight that the IDB is a founding partner of Bosna Bank International (BBI). The IDB also has the honour to contribute to several public utility projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as facilitating the BBI lines of financing Bosnian farmers, Waqf projects and the scholarship programmes benefiting 64 students in engineering, medicine and pharmacy, of whom 46 have already graduated.

Excellences and Distinguished Guests
We are happy to observe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is an upper middle-income country which has accomplished great achievements since the mid-1990s. It has now embarked on Economic Reform Programme (ERP) 2017-2019, which contains a medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal policy framework, including a comprehensive programme of structural reforms aimed at boosting growth and competitiveness of the country. We are pleased to note that the authorities are determined to reduce the large size of the public sector and creating favourable conditions for a bigger and internationally competitive private sector through creating business friendly environment that is conducive to both local and foreign private investment and shifting its focus from consumption-based economic growth to productions of goods and services.
Recently, we have seen the fruits of several measures and reforms implemented by the Government towards promoting investment, including the promulgation of the laws and regulations required to provide conducive investment climate. The IDB Group will continue to support these reform measures.

Your Excellency the Chairman and Excellencies
Main mission of IDB is to improve the life of people through creation of wealth, sustainable economic growth, and creating job opportunities and most importantly help in creating effective and efficient market economy. We are proud and happy to contribute to the prosperity of the region through financing and non-financing activities. We are also very pleased to contribute to the ultimate goal of attracting foreign investment to Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular and to South-Eastern Europe in general, and consolidating the bonds between business people in the region and member countries, particularly the Arab Gulf and Asian States.

Excellences and Distinguished Guests
Let me emphasize that the Governments in developing countries alone can not address the development challenges that they are currently facing. Let me highlight two crucial and emerging challenges facing our member countries namely the alarming level of national debt and budget deficit. For example, the average budget deficit of our 57 member countries increased from 0.5% of GDP in 2010 to 6.2% of GDP in 2016. Similarly, the General Government Gross Debt has increased from 30% of GDP ($164 trillion) in 2010 to 38% of GDP ($242 trillion) in 2016, recording an increase of 47% during the last 6 years. Therefore, we have to jointly deal with these major macroeconomic challenges, among others. In particular, infrastructure and development projects are investment-intensive and require diverse expertise and know-how. No single party meets all these requirements as the infrastructure financing gap of developing countries is widening to more than $3 trillion a year. Governments and international multilateral institutions cannot bridge this gap individually or together.
Therefore, I urge Governments to adopt different development models by rationalizing their financial and fiscal policies and strategies in order to reduce their budget deficit which is mother of most of economic problems and make their debt sustainable. At the same time, the IDB is also trying to adopt a different development model, transforming IDB from a development bank to a bank for development and developers, involving the government, private sector, NGOs, civil society, philanthropic institutions, universities, and research centres. IDB’s role would be bringing development partners to work together, and define the role of each partner. Hence, the IDB’s role would be a facilitator and coordinator, participating in financing, capacity building, supporting the development of laws, overcoming obstacles and working with all partners in a collective and collaborative manner, rather than an individual one.

Your Excellency the Chairman and Excellencies
The role of Private Sector is crucial in achieving sustainable socio-economic development in developing countries. Therefore, success in mobilising financial resources and stimulating the private sector requires an attractive and promising investment climate, developed laws and favourable tax regimes that promote governance and transparency in line with global practices. It also requires a variety of incentives, effective policies for entrepreneurship and SMEs, improved public administration efficiency and capacity building programmes.
However, there is a need for creating an enabling environment for the private sector that will ensure the contribution of the market to the social and economic development. In particular, the solution to funding growing needs is to invest and give a greater development role to the private sector. There are about $218 trillion in global capital markets and in different investment funds. Mobilising 1% only of those funds will bridge the financing gap in developing countries. Moreover, public-private partnership (PPP) will bring together the strengths of the two parties and will have a positive impact on project quality and efficiency. It will also reduce the burden on the State budget and divide the risks between the two sectors.
In this context, the IDB has taken several measures to stimulate the private sector, investment funds and other partners to work together. For this purpose, a Fund has been established to finance economic feasibility studies and provide consultancy and training for PPP projects implemented by the IDB in member countries.

Your Excellency the Chairman and Distinguished Guests
There is also a need for crowding all segments of the society which include, in addition to Government and Private Sector, the Civil Society, Philanthropists, Foundations, Academia, etc.
Expanding and deepening existing partnerships and seeking to attract new partners constitute one of the pillars of my programme of action as President of the Islamic Development Bank for the next five years. Transforming competitors into partners within a network of developers, using the strengths and comparative advantages of each stakeholder, has become a necessary and essential element of economic development in our time. The nature and magnitude of the challenges require consolidation and intensification of all efforts. Over the past forty-four years, the IDB has been able to develop excellent relations with member countries, multilateral development banks, the Arab Coordination Group and regional and international development institutions. In its future orientation, the IDB will deepen its partnerships with all the segments of society.

Your Excellency the Chairman and Excellencies
We believe nurturing economic growth is the best route out of poverty, here in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across our member countries. Science, technology and innovation are offering more solutions than ever before, and there has never been a greater need for those solutions to world’s developmental challenges. We believe that if you give people the tools to build a sustainable future for themselves, their communities and their countries, you will build up their pride and enable them to fulfil their potential.
In today’s world, we have better opportunities than ever before to connect – to share ideas, spread best practices and build communities to enact change. We want to make the most of this connectivity, which is why last month we launched Engage - a global innovation ecosystem for the world's developing communities. Engage is a digital hub which is accelerating economic and social progress in the developing world through harnessing the power of science, technology and innovation. I want to encourage innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs from all across Bosnia and Herzegovina to engage with Engage to solve development challenges through innovative partnerships.
We also want to support sharing good ideas grow into real solutions and businesses by giving people and organisations the resources they need to realise their goals and change the world. That’s why we have launched The Transform Fund: a $500 million fund with the goal of accelerating science, technology and innovation-led solutions that drive economic and social progress in the developing world. The Fund will provide seed money for start-ups and SMEs to develop their ideas, facilitate the commercialization of technology, and promote joint activity among member countries, researchers and entrepreneurs. Put simply, we want to transform visions into solutions. So please, I invite Bosnia and Herzegovina’s scientists and innovators to apply to our Fund.

Your Excellency the Chairman, Excellencies and Distinguished Guests
Finally, no single institution can work alone and there is a need for Partnership. The IDB in its future orientation is strengthening and expanding its partnership. We look forward for this Forum to forge broad investment partnerships that will achieve further growth and comprehensive progress of the Bosnian national economy and the economies of the countries in the region as a whole. I call upon all participants to join efforts to promote cooperation and to make use of the comparative advantages of each country for a better future for South-Eastern Europe and the world.
I reiterate my thanks and gratitude to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the BBI for the excellent organisation. I congratulate you on this wonderful Forum, and I pray to Allah the Almighty for this Forum to bode well for this blessed country and to open the way for never-ending success.


Wassalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.