Part of rebrand, Islamic Development Bank launches regional hub in Dhaka

A bird’s eye view of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by: Minhas Kamal

BANGKOK — In an effort to get closer to its stakeholders, the Islamic Development Bank will soon have a larger footprint in Bangladesh. The Jeddah-based multilateral financial institution will unveil a new regional hub in Dhaka on Sept. 9.

Among its 57 member countries, Bangladesh is the largest beneficiary of IsDB Group financing. A founding member of the bank, the South Asian country has received more than $20 billion in development assistance since 1974, much of it focused on energy, trade, and financial services.

Islamic Development Bank's rebrand focuses on partnerships, innovation

The Islamic Development Bank revealed a rebrand in June, with insiders saying they want to be seen as "more than a bank of businessmen, but a bank of developers."

“Our member countries want the IDB to be proactive and fast in responding to their needs, and this requires that IDB be on the ground close to our stakeholders … being close to them, being on the ground, will enable the IDB to identify those development challenges,” IsDB President Bandar Hajjar told Devex ahead of his visit to Dhaka.

The new regional hub will also help facilitate work in the Maldives, a member country, as well as  nonmember Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and China.

As of June 2018, IsDB’s 25 operations and 18 projects in Bangladesh stood at approximately $900 million in the country. Soon, the bank will also be introducing innovative resource mobilization methods, such as crowdfunding platforms, with an eye toward working closer with new private sector partners, NGOs, and philanthropic associations, Hajjar told Devex.

IsDB will host an innovation competition on Sept. 8 as part of its new Transform effort, a multimillion dollar fund that will work to promote and nurture science, technology, and innovation. Local students and innovators in Bangladesh are invited to pitch concepts supporting one or more of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, with a prize of $3,000 awarded to the winning idea.

“We want to be the originator of a sustainable pipeline of projects that have development impact,” Hajjar said.

In June, IsDB unveiled the first rebrand in its 44-year history, which included a new logo and internal restructuring by creating new specialized departments for climate change, resilience, and partnerships. And the focus on decentralization from its Jeddah headquarters won’t stop at the new office in Dhaka. Aside from 11 regional hubs in places including Jakarta, Dakar, Dubai, and Egypt, the bank is also planning to open offices in London and New York, Hajjar said.

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.