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ADB set to double its lending to Bangladesh

  • Published at 08:14 pm May 7th, 2017
ADB set to double its lending to Bangladesh
The Asian Development Bank is planning to almost double the funds for Bangladesh as the country’s economy is growing very fast and gradually becoming the "success model" for East Asia. Director General of ADB's South Asia Department Hun Kim made the announcement on the last day of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of ADB held at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center in Japan's Yokohama on Sunday, reports UNB. He said: “Bangladesh is really an 'emerging economy' if you look at its Forex reserves this year. We're negotiating with the government for providing loans ranging from $1.8-$2 billion which is almost twice than the last year.” “Last year, the ADB's assistance to Bangladesh amounted to $1.1 billion,” he added. Responding to a question from a Bangladeshi wire service journalist, Hun said Bangladesh is doing right in terms of economic policy and implementation and it should continue 7% GDP growth in the next few years. Hun, however, was not very satisfied while pointing out the weak state of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) mobilisation. FDI flow in Bangladesh is very small which accounts for only less than 1% of its total GDP size. Hun also believes that there is a lot more to do in the power and energy sector of Bangladesh. He identified three major initiatives that Bangladesh must take to continue its 7-8% GDP growth rate. These are developing transport logistics, ensuring energy security and developing a manufacturing growth centre. When speaking of the high-quality labour force potential in Bangladesh, he cited that upgrading the skills of manpower and the workforce could be the ultimate challenge before the country. Deputy Director General for ADB's South Asia Department Diwesh N Sharan said the ADB would provide $650 million for a single project on power transmission and distribution in Bangladesh along with its ongoing assistance for railway and road connectivity. Bangladesh joined ADB in 1973. As of December 31, 2016, ADB's cumulative lending to Bangladesh stood at $18.3 billion for 269 loans, $252.4 million for 422 technical assistance projects, and $787.10 million for 35 grants. ADB focuses its support to Bangladesh in six sectors: energy; transport; water and other urban/municipal infrastructure and services; education; finance; and agriculture, natural resources, and rural development. In 2016, ADB approved 10 projects for Bangladesh, with loans totaling $1.1 billion and technical assistance of $7.85 million.