PM seeks WB support for Bangladesh's smooth transition
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought enhanced World Bank (WB) cooperation for Bangladesh's smooth transition towards a developing nation, subsequent graduation to upper-middle income country status and implementation of its Delta Plan-2100.
"I request the World Bank to support our human capital and institutional capacity development programmes for a smooth transition. The critical IDA [International Development Association] window needs to be preserved and continued," she said.
The premier has placed five specific suggestions before the WB that need to be taken into consideration by the global lender considering upcoming development imperatives while addressing the plenary session on "Reflection on 50 years of World Bank-Bangladesh Partnership" held at the Preston Auditorium of the WB Headquarters.
She said Bangladesh would continue to invest in infrastructure and logistics for realising Bangladesh's vision to become a high-income economy by 2041.
"I would expect the World Bank to engage in both our physical and social mega-projects in the coming years," the prime minister said.
She said Bangladesh has aligned UN SDGs with its national aspiration to become an upper middle-income country by 2031.
"There is an urgent expectation that the World Bank and other development partners deliver increased, concessional and innovative financing for SDG implementation," Sheikh Hasina said.
The premier mentioned that ongoing global multiple crises, caused by the pandemic, armed conflicts and climate emergency, have put most developing economies under serious stress.
Despite the multiple crises from the pandemic and arms conflict, she said some of the development partners have chosen to increase their lending costs and interest rates, which detract from their core mandate.
"I call upon the World Bank and other development partners to find viable alternatives so that our economies can cope better with the emerging challenges," the premier said.
Bangladesh hopes that the World Bank's enhanced engagement in climate action would help address the wide gaps in financing under the Paris Agreement, she said.
"We would stress the importance of equal distribution of financing between climate mitigation and adaptation," the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has emerged as a global role-model in disaster management and preparedness and invested heavily in early warning systems, disaster-resilient infrastructure, and community-based interventions.
Describing Bangladesh as a living laboratory of climate adaptation, featuring a number of nature-based and technological solutions, she said. "I invite the World Bank and other development partners to join us in implementing the projects under our Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100."
On the Rohingya issue, the prime minister said they have been working with the UN and other international agencies to secure their safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation to Myanmar, but not a single person has returned till date.
"The situation is getting increasingly difficult for us, with growing security implications for the wider region. I thank the World Bank for joining us in our humanitarian endeavour and for the $590 million grants for the Rohingya and their impacted communities," she said.
PM's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Planning Minister MA Mannan, and PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman, among others, were present.
WB President David Malpass and its former chief economist Kausik Basu spoke at the programme while the global lenders VP Martin delivered the closing remarks.
The premier will later attend a high level business luncheon after the plenary session with WB President, MDs and VPs at East Dining Room the World Bank.
She, earlier, addressed a meeting with the WB Board members at Shihata Conference Room at WB headquarters here.
On her arrival at the WB headquarters in Washington DC, Bangladesh Prime Minister was received by Country Director of World Bank to Bangladesh Abdoulaye Seck and its SAR VP Martin Raiser with a flower bouquet.