ADB to provide $5.9b in 2021-23 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 AM, August 28, 2020

ADB to provide $5.9b in 2021-23

Allocation is up 7pc from preceding three years

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans on providing $5.9 billion in loans to Bangladesh over the next three years, which is expected to be $400 million higher than what it finally gives out by the end of the preceding period.

In 2018 and 2019, the figures stood at $2.2 billion and $1.3 billion respectively and in the eight months of 2020, it amounted to $1.2 billion. By December, ADB predicts giving out $2 billion in total for 2020.

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Moreover, separate loans might come in the form of project support for the coronavirus pandemic, said finance ministry sources. Some $500 million in such additional programme support was provided this year.

Apart from the $5.9 billion, $5.2 billion has been allotted as standby project assistance for Bangladesh in 2021-2023, according to its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP).

According to the COBP, another $35.6 million will be provided for technical assistance programmes.

COBP is said to be aligned with the government's eighth five-year plan (under preparation) and its core themes of promoting prosperity and fostering inclusiveness, ADB's Strategy 2030 and efforts to attain several Sustainable Development Goals.

ADB operations in Bangladesh prioritises, among others, health, digital education, social protection, skills development, transport corridor development and global value chains, regional and sub-regional cooperation, improved urban services, water supply and sanitation, rural development and high-quality electricity supply.

The standby list includes a pipeline of bankable projects which are said to respond to the country's needs and growing absorptive capacity and which are to be financed depending on the availability of additional lending resources.

All projects are selected and processed based on strong government demand, sector absorptive capacity, and readiness, among other criteria, said the Manila-based lender press release yesterday.

"Given the coronavirus disease pandemic, we are adjusting programme priorities to help the country overcome immediate challenges related to health and social protection, accelerate economic recovery, and maintain inclusive growth," said ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash.

Climate resilience, gender inclusion, and balanced regional development are programme priorities, he said, adding that more support would be provided to improve food security and the finance sector.

ADB will respond to a government request for increased support by focusing on the private sector, public-private partnership projects and help with bond market development.

"To mobilise more resources, we will leverage co-financing opportunities and use diverse financing tools and modalities including policy-based loan, technical assistance, grants, equity, guarantees, B-loan and trade financing," he added.

In the past 47 years, ADB mobilised more than $34.9 billion in loans and grants, including co-financing, in Bangladesh for infrastructure, public services and social development.

ADB's current sovereign portfolio in Bangladesh has 49 projects of about $11 billion.

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