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ADB to give $12bn in loans to Bangladesh over 5 years

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-09-21 19:40:42 BdST

bdnews24
Residents who live on the bank of the Padma river shift their houses to a safer place as the riverbank is about to disintegrate due to soil erosion in Munshiganj, Bangladesh, Aug 26, 2021. REUTERS

The Asian Development Bank will boost its lending operations to as much as $12 billion in the 2021–2025 period under a new country partnership strategy (CPS) from $9.6 billion in the past 5 years.

The new CPS will help Bangladesh increase competitiveness, employment, and private sector development, promote green growth and climate resilience and strengthen human capital and social protection, the ADB said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The CPS for 2021–2025 will help Bangladesh realize its aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2031 through increased public and private investments in the next five years. It will also support rapid socioeconomic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sustained growth and appropriate policy measures have helped Bangladesh achieve good development outcomes. Moving forward, the country’s industry and export base need diversification,” said ADB Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama.

“Diversification in manufacturing and export items, such as agricultural products, information and communication technology, light engineering, and pharmaceuticals, together with increased competitiveness and access to new markets, will be critical in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, sustaining rapid economic growth, and generating substantial employment.”

ADB will further expand its private sector operations in Bangladesh and continue to leverage a high level of cofinancing with other development partners. Improving the banking sector, the ease of doing business, business environment, and investment climate will help accelerate private sector development and promote economic diversification.

“Efforts to reduce poverty will continue. Specific actions to reduce inequality and poverty include effective implementation of the government’s social protection programme,” the ADB said. In the next five years, Bangladesh aims to reduce poverty from 20.5 percent to 15.6 percent and extreme poverty from 10.5 percent to 7.4 percent of its population.

The new ADB strategy was prepared in close coordination with the government to support the implementation of its Eighth Five-Year Plan, which aims to address the need for higher resource mobilization, diversification of manufacturing and exports, and sustainable urbanization.

ADB has supported Bangladesh’s response against the COVID-19 pandemic with a $940 million loan for vaccine procurement under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility and other initiatives. The government has requested $1 billion programmatic budget support for economic resilience and health and social protection, of which $250 million has been provided and the remainder is under preparation for approval in 2021–2023.