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  • A budget allocation has been approved under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative for the preparation of a master plan to redevelop the University of Sarajevo’s main campus.
  • This will be the basis for a significant urban regeneration project in Sarajevo and the first EIB investment in the education sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The project will help increase the resilience of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s education sector to future emergencies such as COVID-19.

Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a cooperation agreement with the Canton of Sarajevo and the University of Sarajevo to support the development of a master plan for the main campus in the city centre. The €500 000 grant is being provided under the Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI) in partnership with the French development bank AFD, and financed by the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI). It will enable the preparation of a master plan and feasibility study for the integration of different educational and scientific research units of the University of Sarajevo into one consolidated campus.

The strategy to be developed under the ERI technical assistance will consist of the redevelopment of the former army barracks in the centre of Sarajevo along with the construction of faculties, institutes, other facilities and the accompanying infrastructure, resulting in the creation of a high-quality campus area. It will ensure improved facilities for students and academic staff, as well as effective collaboration between faculties, academies and research institutes.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who is responsible for operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “Along with the European Union, the EIB is pleased to be supporting this allocation of the budget for the preparation of a future project that is essential for enhancing education opportunities for people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We hope this investment will enable the University of Sarajevo, as the largest and oldest institution of tertiary learning in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to have an even greater impact on the country’s development by educating generations of students in new integrated and well-equipped education facilities. Through the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, we support high-impact projects that encourage growth, employment and increased resilience, and this project will enhance the quality and effectiveness of educational processes and the educational experience, even during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto said: “We are finally starting with one of the largest development projects in Sarajevo. After over two decades, the vision of a modern campus as the centre of education and progress is becoming a reality. This project is beyond all political and individual interests. Our society needs to have a foundation of knowledge and without solid, well-planned and bold investments, this vision would not be possible. In the name of everyone who dreamt this dream, we are jointly advancing with the fulfilment of our obligation to future generations.”

University of Sarajevo Rector Rifat Škrijelj said: “The Urban Regeneration of the University of Sarajevo Campus project that will be developed and implemented with the support of EIB funds is of crucial importance for the future development of this complex belonging to the University of Sarajevo. Given the current challenges related to the increasing mismanagement of the urban environment in development, the importance of this project is even greater, because it creates an opportunity for the University of Sarajevo to develop a central urban space in the city of Sarajevo in line with modern European standards. In addition, the project is to be regarded as a precondition for the development of the new Regulation Plan for this area of the New Sarajevo Municipality, where the University of Sarajevo will have the opportunity to develop capital plans and investments for the campus as a central point of the future development of the University of Sarajevo. Thanks to the project, the people of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to enjoy a beautiful part of the city that takes account of environmental protection and is suitable for education and research, which is, of course, the principal mission of the University. As rector of the University of Sarajevo, I express my deepest gratitude to the European Investment Bank for its support for the project and its focus on investments in science and higher education. The University of Sarajevo’s gratitude in this regard is endless.”

Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler said: “I congratulate the Canton of Sarajevo, University of Sarajevo and the EIB on this initiative. It has great potential to provide inspiration and hope for the future and should help motivate the best and the brightest to stay in or return to BiH and become drivers of change. Education is a strategic investment in the future. This is why we attach great importance to supporting young people by investing in their education and skills. Currently, in addition to initiatives such as the one announced today, the EU is also assisting the BiH authorities to better align education and training systems with the needs of the labour market with a project worth €2.6 million.”

The entire future project cost is estimated in the range of €120 million to €160 million. Apart from education facilities, it will cover the accompanying infrastructure, such as roads, car parks and garages, and public greenery. Particular attention will be paid to the energy efficiency of the buildings and to management arrangements, including the training of management and maintenance staff during the project implementation. This is the third grant signed by the EIB in 2021 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing the total to €2.6 million.

Background information

About the EIB in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

The EU bank has been active in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1977. To date, the EIB has invested €3.1 billion, mostly in the transport sector and small and medium enterprises.

About the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI)

The Economic Resilience Initiative is the EIB’s response to the European Council’s call to step up its support for the EU neighbourhood, in pursuit of economic growth and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The objective of this initiative is to rapidly mobilise additional financing in support of sustainable growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion in Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans countries. The Economic Resilience Initiative focuses on both the public and the private sectors, in support of EIB activities during different stages of the project cycle. The EIB is contributing to the ERI Technical Assistance window with an envelope amounting to €90 million from its own budget resources.