President of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group Dr. Bandar Al-Hajjar unveiled on Wednesday, the bank’s new identity and logo while highlighting the institution’s new direction as it faces new challenges of the future head on. The group’s president, at its headquarters in Jeddah, succinctly summed up the bank’s future role by calling it a bank of development and developers while explaining the need to change tack after over four decades of development intervention.
Al-Hajjar, while explaining the momentous decision, said, “The IsDB has been a symbol of trust, credibility, strength and stability for over 44 years, with a proud heritage of providing resources, fighting poverty and restoring dignity to our member countries As we build on our successes of the past, we must look to the future. I believe that this new brand identity is one of a world class institution — tackling the challenges of today’s modern world.”
The IsDB has been undergoing significant strategic reform under the stewardship of Al-Hajjar. As development enters a new era Al-Hajjar is reimagining the traditional role of a development bank, making the organization more global, placing partnerships, technology and innovation, and global engagement at the heart of his modernizing program.
The new brand identity maintains the core elements of the IsDB heritage while heralding modernity, independence and transparency as the bank’s identity evolves for an international audience.
The IsDB’s mission, as it enters its next stage of growth, included equipping people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale, putting the necessary infrastructure in place to enable them to fulfill their potential, building collaborative partnerships between public and private sectors and championing the latest science, technology and innovation led solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Hayat Sindi, scientific advisor to the president and general supervisor of communications and external relations for IsDB, said, “This is a significant moment in our organization’s history. It is a new identity for the next generation of the IsDB, putting our vision at the heart of our brand, harnessing the achievements of our past, as we build towards the future.”
Al-Hajjar, while unveiling the new brand identity for the first time in its four-decade of development intervention, welcomed the press to the institution with a purpose of developing its 57-member countries, which he said, has been working for over 40 years to improve the lives of the communities it serves by delivering impact at scale.
“Our mission is to equip people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale, putting the infrastructure in place to enable them to fulfill their potential. We bring together 57-member countries across four continents, touching the lives of 1 in 5 of the world’s population. We are one of the largest development banks with an annual volume of operations above $10 billion and subscribed capital of $33 billion,” Al-Hajjar said while introducing the work and achievements of the bank.
Al-Hajjar, after 100 days of taking over and studying the areas of weakness and strengths along with the new challenges, said he forged a road map for the institution to take. “I visualized how I see the bank today and where I see it in the next five years and set out the road map,” he said.
“I then transformed this road map into a program of action, setting a 5-year plan. The key pillar includes decentralization. This I believe was necessary in order to be closer to the ground and the men, with whom we need to grow. For this we need to have a strong presence out there.
“The second pillar is deepened partnerships. It is only with partnerships that challenges can be faced and resolved, while allowing for socio-economic development in our member countries. This is not possible by the bank alone. Realizing this the stress on partnerships — both public and private — was made the order of the day.
“The third pillar is value chain. The bank used to provide assistance individually or country funded. Despite this it did not have much development impact. So we refocused our aid to add value. There are lots of areas we could help, and saw the need for other services to be provided apart from funding... thus we built a framework of complete set of value chains that sustains development.
“The fourth pillar is science, technology and innovation. These play a significant role in social and economic development, and I have set up an unit to help member countries in such a way to introduce scientific and innovative approach in all service in order to boost development,” Al-Hajjar said.
Al-Hajjar cited the example of Singapore’s success to highlight this point. “Singapore is a prime example of a success story that grew through science, technology and innovation. It had limited resources, but banked on its human capital to achieve stupendous growth,” he said.
It is with these reforms in mind that IsDB began its community and outreach program in member countries. “We started communicating about IsDB with a strategy to move forward. With the need to reform, we needed partners. So we needed to tell them in a professional and modern way the direction of the bank. Also the IsDB staff, which are part and parcel of the impact being created in these nations, should feel it and work further for development,” he said.
Al-Hajjar also stressed on resilience that allows for forward thinking and proactive action. “The member countries, especially those affected by crises, should be proactive and anticipate challenges,” he said. Citing the example of climate change, Al-Hajjar asked, “How can we help, especially those 57 member countries being developing countries?”
“We can assist in providing solutions to save money, resources and effort. You need to support them by providing concepts of governance, financial soundness, human resources and transparency,” Al-Hajjar added.
Al-Hajjar, while reiterating the fact that all the international ranking agencies had granted IsDB the highest credit ratings of AAA, stated that the bank was currently forging cooperation partnerships between local communities in the 57-member countries, apart from partnerships between the public and private sectors, in the civil society and development sector at the regional and international levels.
He added, “This is aside from establishing a fund to finance economic feasibility studies, providing consultations and training within the partnerships between the public and private sectors being carried out by the bank in member countries.
“This will have a positive impact on the quality of projects and the resultant creation of job opportunities so as to reduce the burden on the government budgets and divide the risks between the two sectors.”
Al-Hajjar focused on the big efforts being exerted by IDB to keep pace with the member countries’ needs and requirements. “The bank presented many initiatives to meet these needs, like the establishment of a $500 million fund for science, technology and innovation. The fund works side-by-side with the bank’s new electronic platform (encouraging the participation of local communities and transforming them). This was launched by the bank to link innovators in developing societies with the market and financing opportunities.”
On the new challenges reverberating in the financial markets, Al-Hajjar said, “The bank is aware and already dealing with the situation. With the emergence of Fintech, cryptocurrecy and blockchain technology, IsDB is working on these challenges continually. It continues to raise awareness of the new challenges and seeks ways to face it. It works with experts in these field to find ways how best to help them (member countries) and also be ready by working with experts of this ecosystem, even internationally, to work in any new model.”
When asked whether IsDB would be partnering or planning projects in non-member countries, Hajjar said, “Our charter does not permit this. But we have instituted scholarships and projects for Muslim communities in the non-member countries, under the direct supervision of the respected governments. We have helped communities in Europe, India, Canada and the US. Dr. (Hayat) Sindi is in charge of this program (scholarships) and it is a great success.”
Al-Hajjar, while explaining the concept of the new logo, said, “As the IsDB embarks on its next chapter of its evolution its brand is evolving too. A new identity is an evolution not a revolution. Its rich green to blue colors represents the bank’s Islamic tradition while also representing sustainability, progress, growth and our planet.
“The two typefaces evoke a sense of modernity. The IsDB abbreviation allows flexibility while accentuating our Islamic heritage. Our identity can now adapt to any language. The globe represents our global viewpoint, the semi-circle signifying a new dawn for the bank, but also inspiring the Islamic identity of our member nations, a global network of interconnectivity.
“The dot represents the new model of IsDB, a bank of development and developers. The bank connects partners together as catalysts and facilitators boosting the value chain. The dots invoke science and innovation, which lie at the heart of our work as we look to solve some of today’s most important development challenges.
“And finally the unfinished identity represents dynamism and progression as we build on our achievement of our last 44 years. As we look to the future with new partners, new members and new ideas this is a new identity for IsDB, putting our vision at the heart of our brand, harnessing the achievements of our past as we build towards a new future.”
Every element in this logo was reformulated to highlight the new era. It also includes a complete overhaul of the bank’s website, which bears the new logo. The concept of the globe in the heart of the logo depicts the network of 57 member countries across four continents, which the IDB represents. The new logo indicates dynamism, activity and progress.
Al-Hajjar rounded off the unveiling ceremony by stating, “We’ll build on the success of our past as we look to the future. A future of growth and empowering communities to drive their economies and social progress at scale, investing in the infrastructure that enables them to fulfill their potential and building collaborative partnership between public and private sectors, communities and nations, supporting science, technology and innovation-led solutions.”