President of Islamic Development Bank held a Speech at SBF

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.

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