The Asian Development Bank plans to increase its lending to Bangladesh in the next five years by 60 percent to $8 billion, to help the country build infrastructure and strengthen trade links within the region.
The Bangladesh country partnership strategy (CPS) for 2016-2020, endorsed by the ADB board of directors, envisages an enhanced partnership between Bangladesh and the bank.
“Bangladesh halved poverty as targeted under the millennium development goals, and reached middle-income status following decade-long strong economic growth,” said Kazuhiko Higuchi, country director of ADB's Bangladesh office.
“Our new CPS is aligned with the government's goals of creating new sources of growth, generating employment, and supporting rural development for regionally balanced growth.”
To aid its operational expansion, ADB will also strengthen institutional capacity support at the project, sector, and country levels. In the previous CPS period of 2011-2015, ADB lending to Bangladesh exceeded $5 billion, the bank said in a statement yesterday.
Markus Roesner, principal transport specialist with ADB's South Asia Department, told The Daily Star in an e-mail interview that ADB's investments in the transport sector in Bangladesh aim to improve infrastructure bottlenecks, regional connectivity and trade, and better integrate different modes of transport.
Besides the railway projects, ADB is preparing investments in the road sector, he said.
ADB will help the government boost the country's competitiveness in the global markets by improving logistics in the maritime sector, especially at Chittagong Port, and by boosting its hinterland access.
“We are also preparing to finance an inland container depot and logistics centre north of Dhaka,” Markus said.
The ADB statement said CPS adopts a broad-based approach in order to respond flexibly to the demand of the country. Based on ADB's core strengths, the CPS will help ease infrastructure constraints, boost human capital, promote economic corridor development, improve rural livelihoods, and provide climate- and disaster-resilient infrastructure and services.
ADB will help in the development of economic corridors to position Bangladesh well in regional and global value chains.
In coming years, ADB proposes to support major railway and road network capacity improvement; Chittagong port development; urban transport in Dhaka; power generation, transmission, and distribution; energy transmission, including regional energy trade; and renewable energy development.
ADB's programme of assistance will be underpinned by gender mainstreaming; private sector mobilisation, especially through public-private partnerships; improved public finance management; and regional cooperation support.
ADB's knowledge products and services will provide analytical bases for developing operational activities.