ADB unveils 2021-2023 programme to address Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has programmed $5.9 billion firm and $5.2 billion standby project assistance for Bangladesh in 2021-2023, according to the new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Bangladesh.
"Given the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, we are enhancing our partnership with Bangladesh by adjusting program 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 for Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash.
"More support will be provided to improve health, food security, social protection, skills development, rural development, water and sanitation and finance sector, among others," he said.
"Climate resilience, gender inclusion, and balanced regional development are program priorities," he added.
Noting the government request for increased support, Parkash said, "ADB will increase its support for private sector, public-private partnership projects and help with bond market development".
"To mobilize 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 said.
"We are increasing our technical assistance support, and emphasizing innovative approaches, and new technologies to further boost development effectiveness and strengthen results,"Parkash added.
According to the COBP, $5,938 million is for firm projects while another $5,170 million is for standby projects, and $35.6 million for technical assistance programmes during 2021-2023.
The standby list includes a pipeline of bankable projects that respond to the country's needs and growing absorptive capacity, to be financed depending on the availability of additional lending resources.
Regardless of firm or standby status, projects will be selected and processed based on strong government demand, sector absorptive capacity, and readiness, among other criteria.
The COBP is aligned with the guiding principles of the government's 8th five-year plan (under preparation) and its core themes of promoting prosperity and fostering inclusiveness, and ADB's Strategy 2030. Projects in the COBP will also help the country attain several Sustainable Development Goals.
ADB operations in Bangladesh prioritises 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, among others.
Major projects included in the COBP are Healthcare Improvement Program, Climate and Disaster Risk Resilience Project, Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project, Skills for Employment Project, Startup Venture Capital Fund, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development Program, Supporting Education for Children with Special Needs, Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education Project, Digital University Development Project, Renewable Energy Project, Scaling up Energy Efficiency and Conservation Project, Chattogram Water Supply Project, Coastal Town Improvement Project, Secondary Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project, SASEC International Trade Facilitation Program, Dhaka-Sylhet Road Project, dual gauging of Dhaka-Chattogram Rail lines, Dhaka-Cumilla Chord Rail Line, Chattogram-Cox's Bazar Rail Line, Dhirashram Inland Container Depot Project, and Road Safety Improvement Program.
In its 47-year-long partnership with Bangladesh, ADB has mobilised over $34.9 billion in loans and grants, including co-financing, to help bring better infrastructure, public services, and social development outcomes to the people of Bangladesh. ADB's current sovereign portfolio in Bangladesh has 49 projects with around $11 billion.